Wednesday, October 26, 2016

City prepares to honor the legacy of pioneering Lincoln Heights football player

View Larger Map The intesection front of Lincoln High would be named in honor of football player Kenny Washington
By Tony Cella

A Lincoln Heights intersection would be christened “Kenny Washington Square” under a proposal to honor a star football player at Lincoln High who would later become one of the first black players in the NFL.

The City Council is scheduled to vote next week on a motion by Councilmember Gil Cedillo to name the intersection of North Broadway and Lincoln Park Avenue in honor of Washington, who played on the school’s team during the early 1930s.

Transportation Engineer Mehrdad Moshkar confirmed the city’s plans to install the sign by the end of February at the intersection next to the high school campus.

The new sign is part of ongoing efforts by the Kenny Washington Foundation and others to honor the memory and achievements of Washington, who grew up in Lincoln Heights and played on the Lincoln High football team in the 1934-’35. He played for UCLA, along with future baseball pioneer Jackie Robinson, and was the first Bruin inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, according to the Kenny Washington Foundation. After WWII and his military career ended, Washington became one of the first black players in the NFL when he signed a contract with the Los Angeles Rams.

He retired from the grid-iron in 1948 and found work as an actor, LAPD officer and a scout for the Los Angeles Dodgers until his death in 1971.

Cedillo did not return requests for comment.

Tony Cella is a freelance reporter who has covered crime and grime in Los Angeles, New York City and the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska. Click here to contact Cella with questions, comments or concerns.

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