Ali’s greatest fight; debunking some D-day myths; my final word on Roots; excitement builds for Free State of Jones; Tut’s dagger; Happy Jefferson Davis Day!

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We lost another American legend this past weekend, Muhammad Ali. Of course there have been bios and tributes posted, but the one that I enjoyed the most was this piece from documentarian Bill Siegel in Guardian that focuses on his stand against fighting in the Vietnam War. “I don’t think he set out to be political,” Siegel writes.  “I think he set out to be moral. There will never be another Muhammad Ali within the boxing ring. But beyond the boxing ring, he represents the capacity we all have to live truly moral, principled and humane lives.”

Today is of course the anniversary of D-day, and CNN has posted a good piece that is designed to debunk some myths about the event, reminding us that it was not solely an American operation and that casualties among frontline troops during the Normandy campaign were heavier than in the major battles on the Western Front in WWI.

Today the Journal of the Civil War Era‘s website has posted my finale take on the Roots remake in which I conclude that the original is still better. I enjoyed the remake, but now that it is over I hope Hollywood moves on to original stories and more realistic depictions of slave resistance.

Now that Roots is behind us, we can start focusing on the next big popular culture attack on the Lost Cause, the film Free State of Jones, opening in theaters on June 24. This has been on our radar for a long while now, but it is finally upon us. Isn’t it great that over the last year it seems that new shows and movies that hammer at the Lost Cause seem to be coming one after another? (And we still have Birth of a Nation coming this fall).  I saw the movie  trailer for Free State of Jones in the theater last week (while watching The Nice Guys. FYI: good movie. Check it out) and that really got me stoked. But the anticipation shot through the roof when Victoria Bynum (the rockstar historian who wrote the book the film is based on) tweeted out that she has now seen the movie and loves it. Then, I saw a story on CBS (thanks to Kevin Levin) featuring interviews with the film’s director and biggest star (Matthew Mcconaughey),  a local Mississippi historian that is related to Newt Knight, and (comedically) a couple of Sons of Confederate Veterans that complain about Hollywood’s depiction of history. Enjoy:

Did you catch that story over the weekend about the discovery that King Tut’s dagger was made out of a meteorite? How cool is that? Of course I expect that the History Channel’s Ancient Alien dudes will soon be touting this as proof that aliens interacted with the ancient Egyptians and that the dagger was actually a gift from another world. Count on it.

So today is “Jefferson Davis Day” down here in my state of Alabama. We have the distinction of being the last state to celebrate the president of the Confederacy’s birthday as a state holiday (state government offices are closed). Ah yes, may we never cease to stop celebrating the man that called the Emancipation Proclamation “the most excrable measure recorded in the history of guilty man,” labeled slavery as “the mildest and most humane of all institutions,” and insisted that the institution “restrains [African Americans] from the vicious indulgences to which their inferior nature inclines them.” Happy Jefferson Davis Day, everybody!!

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