Baseball may be considered the national pastime, but given the revelry that occurs every year at the beginning of the NFL season, it seems that Americans love football just as much. Yet, the story behind the integration of professional football has received less attention in our classrooms. Today, African American players account for more than 60% of the NFL, and the 2013 season featured a record number of Black quarterbacks. But such recognition did not come easily. Most students (and Americans in general) know that Jackie Robinson integrated Major League Baseball in 1947. But many of those same people don’t know that Kenny Washington and Woody Strode integrated professional football the year before. These fine athletes faced many of the same struggles as did the first African American baseball players, so their stories deserve to be a part of the curricula as well.
Green Light Learning Tools has partnered with T-Time Productions to create an interactive student workbook for their outstanding documentary, Third and Long: The History of African-Americans in Pro Football. The documentary includes interviews with football legends, such as Jim Brown, Willie Lanier, and Deacon Jones, plus contemporary greats, including Ray Lewis, Ozzie Newsome, and Tony Dungy.
The workbook breaks the documentary into five parts, each of which can easily fit into one class period. Each part of the workbook contains additional images and information to provide context for the film. Features include historical gems ranging from excerpts of presidential speeches to iconic images from the civil rights movement. The workbook also includes timelines and vocabulary activities to get students involved in the action.
The student app is now available for free on the Apple or Amazon App Store. An iBook version of the film is available on the iBookstore for $3.99. For teachers without tablets, a PDF version of the workbook is available for free download at thirdandlong.tv.
How to use the app in your classroom
- Have students watch each part of Third and Long and then read and complete the workbook at home.
- After watching the film, have students break into small groups to complete the workbook.
- Have students complete the workbook as homework to prepare for watching the film.
- Use the film and workbook as a starting point to discuss the civil rights movement and the role of sports in American society.
For more information on obtaining a copy of the Third and Long documentary, contact T-Time productions.