Ghosts of Alabama

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BIRMINGHAM, Alabama: Former presidential candidate George Wallace, whose campaign platform touted the virtues of a racially segregated society in the American south, is protesting a new Spike Lee biopic that portrays the four-term Alabama governor as contemplating suicide following a 1972 assassination attempt. The 77-year-old Wallace insists that he never considered suicide. Having long since made peace with the black Americans he once opposed, he's concerned that Lee's film will unnecessarily dredge up his segregationist past. "I grow a bit weary with people who were always his critics saying he has to spend the rest of his life apologizing," says son George Wallace Jr. The family is also struggling to keep a lid on a lengthy interview that Lee conducted with Wallace last year, centering on the 1963 bombing of a church in Birmingham that killed four young black girls. Wallace has turned down Lee's request for carte-blanche use of the interview. TNT publicity maintains that the film will "fairly portray the historical record," but for Wallace, who has struggled both physically and mentally as a result of his racial policies and his injury, that could be exactly what he hopes to avoid.