Nobody’s Home
Published in

Nobody’s Home

Watching “The Neutral Ground” from POV on PBS

“The Neutral Ground” on PBS’s POV dives into the infinitely complex issue of Southerners’ varying perspectives on race, confronting the past, and moving forward in the future. The filmmaker CJ Hunt focuses most of the hour-long documentary on efforts in New Orleans to remove prominently place Confederate memorials, as well as counter-efforts to stop their removal, but it also leaves the Crescent City and makes brief forays into this issue’s manifestations in other places.

Though it is contentious, the issue of Confederate monument is necessary to address publicly. In the documentary, we see snippets of public commentary about the proposed removal during a city council meeting, and they are anything but amiable. Those debates led to years-long court fights and delays before the eventual removal. Along the way, we meet Hunt’s father, who is African American, and hear him speak forcefully about racism and its effects. Across the spectrum, Hunt also goes to the now-infamous Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, where white supremacists and counterprotestors fight in the streets, and to a Civil War re-enactment, where a small group of older white men share their camp and their ideas with him.

As the editor of a project on beliefs, myths, and narratives, I watched “The Neutral Ground” with a particular interest in seeing people’s reactions when their deeply held beliefs — mythic beliefs — were challenged. Hunt did a good job of presenting the facts of the Lost Cause myth, its raison d’être, and the roles of the United Daughters of the Confederacy and Civil Rights-era segregationists in memorializing their crafted narrative of Southern history. By contrast, we also encounter the modern counter-narrative that is replacing the Lost Cause myth with a more fact-based version of events. Its supporters also work to do what the Lost Cause folks did: coalesce an extremely complex array of factors into nuggets that are easily digestible by the general public. Personally, I see the Lost Cause and Neo-Confederate sentiments fading into obscurity, their monuments being relegated to museums, and their supporters losing this war of hearts and minds . . . though, I don’t see the mythology being completely stamped out, instead existing as folklore in conversations held around dinner tables, campfires, and truck beds, mostly in the South.

Originally published at on December 28, 2021.




An online anthology of creative nonfiction works about the prevailing myths, beliefs, narratives, ideas, experiences, and assumptions that have driven Southern culture over the last fifty years, in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Foster Dickson

Foster Dickson

writer, editor, & award-winning teacher in Montgomery, AL | editor of “Nobody’s Home” | proud Gen X |

More from Medium

Why We Will Never Get Another Classic Halo Game

Romanticisation or Ridicule?: Tony Slattery’s ‘I’m Going to Shoot Somebody Famous’

Screenshot from the music video: Tony Slattery sat on a stool on a darkened stage, with the lyrics ‘I’m going to shoot somebody famous’ beneath.

East Jerusalem: Exploring Jerusalem’s Contested Other Half (Photos, Videos)

Shonte Renee is R&B’s Next Biggest Queen.