Through the Banks of the Red Cedar
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A Documentary Film.

Through the Banks of the Red Cedar, a play on the Michigan State University fight song, follows the 50 year legacy of the filmmaker’s father, legendary Vikings wide-receiver Gene Washington (College Football Hall of Fame, Big Ten Ford-Kinnick Leadership Award, Michigan State Athletics Hall of Fame, 50 Greatest Vikings Honoree) from the segregated South to MSU alongside highly decorated teammates Bubba Smith (Defensive Lineman), George Webster (Rover Back) and Clinton Jones (Running Back) as they become members of the first fully integrated football team in America, later making history as first round picks in the 1967 Draft.

The film unfolds through the eyes of the filmmaker, Maya Washington, Gene's youngest daughter, as she uncovers her father's journey and the impact of this 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 MSU Spartan Football team ascend to national prominence 50 years later.


Official Festival Selection

Detroit Free Press Freep Film Festival

Louisiana International Film Festival

Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival

Rochester International Film Festival

Bentonville Film festival

Color of Conversation Film Series, AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center

Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival

Lakefront Film Festival


This film is powerful, heartfelt, inspiring, and challenging! Maya Washington, your film should be seen by all, especially young people. It is a great example of how not being afraid to sacrifice, can lead to incredible accomplishments! Go Green!

-Eddie Stephens, Jr., West Michigan Spartans



Race remains a hot button issue in America. By exploring the themes in the film, we’re advancing a positive and productive intergenerational conversation about how what happened fifty years ago still matters today.
— Maya Washington, Director/Producer

Recent Community &

Institutional Screenings

ASU Global Sport Institute Summit, Phoenix, AZ

Minnesota Vikings MuSEUM, Eagan, MN

College Football Hall of Fame Museum, Atlanta, GA

DFW Spartans Cafe Izmir, Dallas, TX

California State University Fullerton, Fullerton, CA

Showbiz Cinemas, Baytown, TX

MSP Film Society at the Capri Theater, Minneapolis, MN

Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI

West Michigan Spartans Alumni Wealthy Theatre, Grand Rapids, MI

University of Minnesota Duluth, Duluth, MN

College of Saint Scholastica, Duluth, MN

Minnesota State University Mankato, Mankato, MN