Directed by Mark Patrick George and Dana Williams (2016)
This documentary concerns the white supremacist-linked Civil War monuments and reenactments that continue to dominate life in the Southern US. After touring the South for four years, the filmmakers identified 706 public monuments or statutes glorifying leaders of the Southern Confederacy, as well as 109 schools, 80 counties and ten military bases named after Confederacy heroes. Many Southern cities have streets named after prominent Ku Klux Klan leaders.
Most of the film focuses on Civil War reenactments that occur throughout the South. The reenactment movement developed during the sixties and seventies, in reaction to federal school integration laws.
In addition to interviewing numerous reenactors, the filmmakers interview national park rangers, local officials, Civil War historians and Black residents. The latter deeply resent the use of their tax dollars to glorify what they view as an increasingly white supremacist agenda.
Although most reenactors cite “educating younger generations about history” as their chief motivation for participating in Civil War reenactments, the latter portray a version of history that is more mythological than factual. Not only do they deny that the Civil War had anything to do with slavery,** but they totally erase the role of over 200,000 slaves who abandoned their plantations to fight for the Union Army and Navy.
Moreover it’s also clear that recruiting new members for overtly and covertly white supremacist “heritage” groups is another major goal of these reenactment festivals. One organization, the League of the South, actively promulgates the Great Replacement*** rhetoric espoused by white right terrorists like Dylan Roof and Brenton Tarrant.
The League of the South has its own paramilitary group actively working towards Southern secession from the US.
*Blacks comprise 30% of the population of Lake City Florida, host to the annual Olustee Reenactment.
*Most reenactors give “states rights” and “economic differences” as the true cause of the “War of Northern Aggression.”
**The Great Replacement claims there is a conspiracy to exterminate the white population of Europe and the North America by replacing them with people of color.