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Unforgivable Blackness

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Ken Burns’ latest looks at the man who broke boxing’s color line, becoming the first black heavyweight champion of the world in 1908. The hard-hitting doc goes beyond tracing the peaks and valleys in the life of a pugilist who pulled no punches — in or out of the ring. Unforgivable Blackness also explores white America’s outrage over a champion who not only was black but also married white women, all the while blowing kisses to angry Caucasian crowds. With this complex portrait of a sport — and a nation — in transition, Burns again proves that he has his craft down to a sweet science.

EXTRAS Deleted scenes flesh out certain sections, and a making-of shows how parts of the film came together, including uncovering archival material, casting vocal talent (Keith David, Samuel L. Jackson, Billy Bob Thornton), and composing Wynton Marsalis’ knockout of a score.

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