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The NFL announced Wednesday morning that they have agreed to partner with The HistoryMakers, the nation’s largest archive of Black oral history of both well-known and unsung Black Americans.
In addition to two years of funding, the NFL will provide The HistoryMakers with hundreds of hours of footage from interviews with Black NFL legends from the past and present, including dozens of Pro Football Hall of Fame players.
“We feel a deep debt of gratitude to the NFL and NFL Films for this incredible gift as this level of commitment will help move The HistoryMakers sports initiative forward in ways that we need and previously could not have imagined,” says Julieanna Richardson, Founder & President of The HistoryMakers.
“Our goal since our inception has always been to document the African American experience across a variety of disciplines and this commitment will ensure that the stories of African American football legends and African Americans who have played a critical role in NFL history will now become part of this nation’s patrimony.”
NFL Working to Fix Racial Inequities
The NFL has made a public effort to try and combat the racial inequities that plague the league. Despite 70% of the league’s players being Black, there are only five Black head coaches out of 32 teams.
With the recent purchase of the Denver Broncos by a group led by Walmart heir Rob Walton, the NFL will finally see its first Black woman with an equity stake in an NFL team in league history.
Mellody Hobson, co-CEO of Ariel Investments and director of JPMorgan Chase, is part of the ownership group that agreed to the $4.65 billion purchase of the Colorado team, the largest team sale in the history of North American sports.
With the partnership with The HistoryMakers, the league hopes to engage with a completely new audience with its award-winning footage.
“We are thrilled to team up with The HistoryMakers and contribute to their rich video archives of African American history” said Ross Ketover, Senior Executive of NFL Films. “This will truly be a mutually beneficial relationship as our NFL Films interviews will be seen by a whole new audience, while The HistoryMakers will be able to add much needed history to its national archives to educate millions for years to come.”