The non-American narrator adds a touch of detachment to this timely, surprisingly even-handed program that is sure to spark discussion.
Throughout the South of the United States, tempers flare up as confederate monuments are targeted for removal. During a 6000 mile road trip through the former Confederacy, this documentary explores the legacy of Southern Heritage. A myriad of supporters and opponents is met along the way: White, Black, North and South. Each with their own view on what’s worth remembering and preserving. Is there a way past these crossroads?
Brilliant, rigorous, emotional, and powerful, Monumental Crossroads is a timely examination of the burden of our tangled histories, racism, and the moment Americans find ourselves in whether we want it or not—and it’s more important in 2021 than it was in 2017.
recent screening events
Campus-wide film discussion
February 24, 2021
Q&A with History class "American South"
February 17, 2021
Social Justice Symposium
March 4, 2021
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” Monumental Crossroads is an exceptionally humane portrait of a very contentious issue. Perhaps only an outsider could have been so generous to all of the subjects. Van den Hoff gave them sincere respect and allowed them to be eloquent in their unique fashion. Some of the characters seem either misguided or disingenuous, but the film leaves it to the viewer to discern the “heart” of these subjects. A marvelous film, well-paced and with exceptional cinematography, I will certainly recommend Monumental Crossroads to others and will work it into my teaching.”
W. Fitzhugh Brundage, Professor of History, UNC-Chapel Hill, Author The Southern Past: A Clash of Race and Memory
“Like Gunnar Myrdal ninety years ago, it takes a Dutch filmmaker to ask critical questions about Americans and racism. Framed within the context of the removal of the monument of Robert E. Lee in New Orleans, Monumental Crossroads covers a lot of ground to explain Confederate monuments in a broader scope of history. This film will serve educators well as they navigate the contested nature of monuments and commemoration.”
Doug Thompson, Professor of History and Southern Studies, Mercer University, Author Richmond’s Priests and Prophets: Race, Religion, and Social Change in the Civil Rights Era
“Monumental Crossroads offers the fascinating perspective of humane and informed visitors to the American South. With powerful images and often painful interviews, this film documents the advocates and opponents of Confederate memorialization in a revealing light.”
Edward L. Ayers, Professor of the Humanities, University of Richmond, Author The Thin Light of Freedom
“This documentary is timely and well researched. Sometimes the discussion of Confederate Monuments can seem cold and abstract, but seeing the images and hearing from people today is powerful. The contrast between then and now, Black and White, young and old—this is an honest look at our past. Monumental Crossroads will open up a space for necessary dialogue on this topic.”
Andrea Benjamin, Associate Professor of African & African American Studies, University of Oklahoma, co-author, Set in Stone? Predicting Confederate Statue Removal
“Monumental Crossroads is a powerful antidote for anyone who still believes that confederate monuments are nothing more than innocent invocations of a benign southern heritage.”
James Oakes, Professor Emeritus of History, Author Freedom National: The Destruction of Slavery in the United States,1860-1865
“Monumental Crossroads plunges us into the swirling currents of southern identity and the battles being waged over the meaning of the Confederate past, especially flags and monuments, and the enduring legacy of slavery. Van den Hoff manages to ask exactly the right questions, gently prodding his interviewees in a way that evokes unexpectedly candid responses.”
Adam Gussow, Professor of English and Southern Studies, University of Mississippi
“Monumental Crossroads is debuting at the perfect time: As US protests over anti-Black racism spread to the rest of the world, the legacies of both slavery and the Confederacy are as relevant as ever. With Confederate monuments being removed – whether legally or illegally – daily, this film offers an objective, non-American perspective on the issue, yet makes the moral and ethical stakes of monument removal completely clear. Monumental Crossroads is an intensely interesting, haunting journey, and should be required viewing for every person trying to understand racism in America.”
Keri Leigh Merritt, Historian, Author Masterless Men: Poor Whites and Slavery in the Antebellum South
“Monumental Crossroads explores the modern South through the lens of Confederate heritage, a southern heritage that is often romanticized and cleansed of its racist underbelly. It ponders questions about the meaning of this heritage through interviews with both black and white southerners, for whom Confederate symbols have personal, though very different meanings. What truly makes the film valuable to instructors and students is its ability to inspire discussion about the meaning of history, symbols, and the role they play in our politics as a nation.”
Karen L. Cox, Professor of History at UNC Charlotte, Author Dixie’s Daughters: The United Daughters of the Confederacy and the Preservation of Confederate Culture
“Monumental Crossroads is an excellent tool for exploring the ways in which history is used to create and maintain narratives that define us and them, oppressor and oppressed, right and wrong. It illustrates how the complexity of life, politics, and consciousness cannot be reduced down to simple binaries. The film provokes the viewer to reimagine how an unflinching look at history can, with creativity, lead to a deeper connection to the past and a more hopeful perspective on the future.”
Gabriel Reich, Associate Professor of history at Virginia Commonwealth University
“In the maelstrom over the place of Confederate monuments dives Monumental Crossroads, a film that gives all voices and all perspectives a hearing without reducing the current debates over Confederate iconography as a simple misunderstanding that comes down to heritage or hate. How people remember the American Civil War, as Monumental Crossroads reminds us in poignant commentary and powerful imagery, cannot be divorced from the contentious political struggles of today.”
Peter Carmichael, Professor of History, Director of Civil War Institute, Gettysburg College, Author The War for the Common Soldier
“Monumental Crossroads provides a window into how false narratives about the history of the American South are sustained and perpetuated. The Lost Cause is part of this historical deception, but this film also illustrates how the belief among some Americans that racism is not part of America’s past only fuels more division. White supremacy is mutable and takes on many forms and this film provides a way to discuss the shape-shifting nature of American racism.”
W. Ralph Eubanks, Visiting Professor of English and Southern Studies, University of Mississippi, Author The House at the End of the Road
Monumental Crossroads features in-depth interviews with those who want to protect confederate monuments as a tribute to ‘southern heritage’ as well as those who view them as symbols of white supremacy and want to remove them from our public spaces. This documentary should generate interesting discussions among students about who is selected to be commemorated by a monument and who is not.
Alison M. Parker, Professor of American History, University of Delaware, Author Unceasing Militant: The Life of Mary Church Terrell
“Monumental Crossroads sheds light on to the role of slavery’s unreconciled legacy undergirding the Confederate memorial debate and offers an opening for promoting the difficult conversations and empathy necessary for reconciliation.”
Hilary Green, Associate Professor of History, University of Alabama