How Phil Collins Launched The Alamo's Second Most Notable Battle
If there's anything we learned from the Tarzan soundtrack and that killer drum solo in “In The Air Tonight” it's that when Phill Collins does something, he goes hard – arguably much harder than he theoretically should. However, it seems this unshakable tenacity evidently spans well beyond music and into his other passions – namely, Collin's collection of Alamo memorabilia.
Although roughly seven years ago, the legendary drummer donated his “vast trove of Alamo-related artifacts,” as the Wall Street Journal called it, to the state of Texas with the caveat that his metric f--kton of historical items be used to launch an Alamo museum by the erm, ever-approaching deadline of 2021, his donation has recently caused quite the ruckus. While ground has been broken on the $140 million development that is now set to open circa 2026, it seems the museum (and therefore Collins) managed to launch the second-most notable battle the Alamo has ever faced – a showdown about what, exactly, should be remembered in its collections, according to a new report from the business publication.
Even after “years" of workshops and public hearings, local leaders and politicians have still locked horns about what the museum should center on, namely, whether the exhibits should tell the tale of “the small group of leaders who played key roles," in the Alamo's history, a la Davey Crockett, or whether the locale should "reflect a broader, more complicated tale,” focusing on the contributions of people of color, including Tejanos (a.k.a Texans of Mexican heritage), Indigenous people, and Black people who were indentured or enslaved.
While Dora Guerra, a former rare-book librarian who worked at the Alamo library prior to retiring, told the WSJ that this debate – and even the building itself -- has “ … turned into a circus,” with tourists regularly seeing gun-toting protesters (this is Texas, after all) surrounding the monument, it seems part of this fiery discussion can tie back to the Alamo's fabled history according to Brian Franklin, Southern Methodist University's associate director at the college's Center for Presidential History.
“The Alamo has such a mythical status that everyone thinks they know its story, but maybe they only really know about one day, or a few moments,” Franklin explained, adding that “the devotion is almost religious."
So, folks, here's to the Alamo – let's hope it's still remembered by the time this highly-debated museum opens its doors.
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