The Neutral Ground: Streaming Free in November

Don’t miss this film! The Neutral Ground, a documentary on the fight over Confederate monuments and the Lost Cause narrative, streams free on POV.org for the month of November.

Director C. J. Hunt, a former middle school teacher and a comedian on The Daily Show, made the film teachable and engaging for grades 7+.

In 2015, Hunt was filming the New Orleans City Council’s vote to remove four Confederate monuments. But when that removal was halted by death threats, Hunt set out to understand why a losing army from 1865 still holds so much power in the United States.

A review in The Grio notes,

Harrowing, smart, and bitterly funny, Hunt’s documentary The Neutral Ground confronts the Lost Cause — the Southern campaign that mythified the Confederacy — with refreshing clarity. With New Orleans as the main backdrop of the story, the film expands its scope to the country at large, bringing to light the fabricated histories born out of the Civil War and the hard truths much of America has yet to face about slavery. Throughout, Hunt’s radical openness leads to staggering, often personal conversations with advocates and opponents of Confederate monuments alike.

Hunt will make selected classroom visits. Fill out this form to request a visit. For more information, visit Neutral Ground.

Below are lessons and readings that could be used in conjunction with the film.

One comment on “The Neutral Ground: Streaming Free in November

  1. David Keller on

    In Summer 1968, I was visiting my aunt and uncle, who lived in NO French Quarter. They left to visit friends in Florida. I wasn’t ready to leave yet, so I found a room to stay in at a frat house at Tulane U.

    One evening, I was in my room upstairs, and heard this great commotion and noise from the “TV Room” downstairs. I went down to see what was going on.
    There was all this cheering and yelling from 20-30 guys assembled in front of the tv, “We got the bastard!” “We got that n…. lover!” We got his brother, now we got him!” “We did it – we got King, and now him!”

    Bobby Kennedy had just been shot.

    I was mortified, offended beyond belief. How could they be saying these things?

    Several days later, there was a revival showing of Gone with the Wind at a large theater downtown. I hadn’t seen it in years, so I decided to head on over to see it.

    The theater was packed – many of the attendees wore Grey uniforms. They all cheered any Confederate victory scenes, booed any Union battle victories, excoriating Sherman’s march scenes.

    I left the theater recognizing that the War was not over. Here it was, 103 years after South’s purported “defeat”, but the War continued, as it does to this day. My understanding since then is that wars take generations to be “over.”

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