Dennis Haysbert was blown away.
Haysbert, an actor perhaps best known as Allstate's baritone spokesman, was recently filming a Smithsonian TV show called Civil War 360. As one of the show's hosts, Haysbert had the opportunity to speak with museum curators across the country, pore through countless artifacts and read up on the war that nearly ended the United States as we know it.
"It was very, very compelling to me," Haysbert told ThePostGame of the experience. "I truly believe it’s changed my life."
Haysbert said one artifact in particular stood out to him. It is a bloodstained map which is thought to have belonged to David Hoyt, a Kansas abolitionist. Hoyt was in Kansas in 1856 when he was shot from behind by a crew of pro-slavery men near Fort Saunders.
Hoyt was carrying a map with him when he was killed, and the bloodstained drawing was later brought to the Northeast, where it was seen as a symbol of just how violent the slavery struggle had become.
"It just sort of hit me that there were so many people of so many different colors and religions and creeds that were fighting to free my ancestors," said Haysbert, who also had memorable roles in the 24 TV series and the Major League movie.
Haybsert said he was also struck by a wallet-sized card version of the Emancipation Proclamation that Union soldiers had in their backpacks as they marched south. Only one of these cards has been found, and it is currently housed in the Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum in Washington, D.C.
Fittingly, the Anacostia Community Museum is the beneficiary of this weekend's second Annual Dennis Haysbert Humanitarian Foundation Celebrity Golf Classic presented by Allstate. The tournament takes place Aug. 26 at the Lakeside Golf Club in Burbank, Calif.
"It’s just my vehicle to help raise money," Haysbert, an avid golfer who has his own line of golf apparel, said of his charity tournament. "It just sort of enhances my partnership with [Allstate]. And also gives people the opportunity to have a good time playing golf for a great time."
For a Q&A with Dennis Haysbert, see here.