“Bill Walton and Larry Bird Visit the Eugene V. Debs Museum.”

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Sportswriter Dave Zirin linked to this fine story yesterday, serving as a reminder that a road trip to Terre Haute and a visit to the Eugene V. Debs Museum is a very good idea, indeed — whether undertaken by Larry Bird and Bill Walton, or Mr. and Mrs. Confidential. Hard to believe, but I have not been there. This will rectified in 2014.

The Great Ones Meet the Great One: Bill Walton and Larry Bird Visit the Eugene V. Debs Museum, by Gary Daily (Reading at the Crossroads blog)

There’s an essay-type question that shows up on history exams, college applications, Saturday Night Live skits and quite possibly requests for platinum credit cards. The question goes something like this: “If you could sit down and have dinner/pizza/a beer with two famous people, who would be your choices?”

Now think about this exercise in historical imagination with changes along these lines: “If you had the opportunity to escort two renowned athletes on a tour of Terre Haute’s world class Eugene V. Debs Museum, which two athletes would you choose?”

If you don’t know Eugene V. Debs, then get yourself educated. He is a useful and enduring reminder that Indiana wasn’t always a right-wing bastion.

Eugene Victor “Gene” Debs (November 5, 1855 – October 20, 1926) was an American union leader, one of the founding members of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW or the Wobblies), and several times the candidate of the Socialist Party of America for President of the United States.[1] Through his presidential candidacies, as well as his work with labor movements, Debs eventually became one of the best-known socialists living in the United States.

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