Story of Vikings football star’s legacy told in filmmaker daughter’s documentary

AMES, Iowa — Coming to Iowa State University this month: the story of Minnesota Vikings football legend Gene Washington’s life through the eyes of his filmmaker daughter, Maya Washington.

Through the Banks of the Red Cedar

Minnesota Vikings football legend Gene

Washington, left, and his daughter,

filmmaker Maya Washington.

The film, “Through the Banks of the Red Cedar,” will be shown at 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 27, in the Memorial Union Great Hall. A Q&A with Maya Washington and Gene Washington will follow the screening. This event is free and open to the public.

“Through the Banks of the Red Cedar,” a play on the Michigan State University fight song, follows the 50-year legacy of legendary Vikings wide receiver Gene Washington from the segregated South to Michigan State alongside his teammates, including defensive lineman Bubba Smith, rover back George Webster and running back Clinton Jones.

Washington and his teammates at Michigan State were part of the first fully integrated football team in the United States. Washington played for the Spartans from 1964 to 1966.

He and his teammates later made history as first-round picks in the 1967 NFL draft, during which Washington was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings. Washington has earned many honors for his football career, including being inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2011 and the Michigan State Athletics Hall of Fame in 1992. He received the Big Ten Ford-Kinnick Leadership Award in 2013 and he was named one of the “50 Greatest Vikings” at the team’s 50th season celebration in 2010.

The film unfolds through the eyes of Gene’s youngest daughter, filmmaker Maya Washington, as she uncovers her father’s journey and the impact of his legacy on the present generation. Maya traces her father’s footsteps from the segregated South to the North over the course of a modern football season. As she uncovers both the triumphs and defeats of her father’s team, she develops a newly-formed appreciation for the game and a deeper connection to her father, just in time to witness the MSU Spartan Football team ascend to national prominence 50 years later.

This event is co-sponsored by Multicultural Student Affairs, Iowa State University Athletics, Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication and the Committee on Lectures, which is funded by Student Government.

Find more information about ISU lectures online or by calling 515-294-9934.

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