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Forgiven But Not Forgotten



He was a Golden Gloves boxer who fought his way to national political attention and almost stalemated the 1968 presidential campaign as a third-party candidate. George Wallace of Alabama was a man to be reckoned with.

PBS-TV's "American Experience" will examine Wallace's life and career in a three-hour special airing Sunday and Monday (April 23 and 24) at 9 p.m. And this is no ordinary documentary. "George Wallace: Settin' the Woods on Fire" won the Sundance 2000 Film Festival Special Jury Prize.

Wallace made his mark on American politics. He was governor of his home state for 20 years and ran for president four times. During his 1972 run for the presidency, he was shot down during a campaign stop as the TV cameras watched. Crippled by the assassination attempt, he left a conservative legacy that lives on, but he spent the remainder of his life seeking redemption and once preached to a black congregation and sought forgiveness for what he had done with his political career.

Many considered him to be the embodiment of racism in America. "I say segregation now, segregation tomorrow and segregation forever," he said in 1963. Nonetheless, many blacks forgave him. "Forgive? Yes," says one black attorney from Selma, Ala., in the documentary. But he quickly adds, "Forget? Never."

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