I am back in the weird and unexplored side of the internet again, this time on YouTube. Do not ask me how I found it, but I came across an interesting video. Entitled, “Alabama: Heart of the Confederacy” this short 10 minute clip looks at Alabama in 1937. The interesting aspect of this, is that it was produced by the National Park Service and the C.C.C.
The video begins with no effort to explore the causes of the Civil War, but rather focuses on the importance Montgomery Alabama as the first Confederate State capitol. The narrtor continues by idolizing Jefferson Davis and and the Confederate cause, with no word of slavery. One man even seems to be a Confederate Veteran as he points to where Davis stood in 1861. Scenes continue with pictures of the current state of affairs in Alabama; showcasing the public works of the C.C.C. One the motives of the producers is evidently to show the public utility C.C.C. workers are to the community and their role in creating these spaces such as parks.
Examining this film piece from a 1930s perspective reveals some interesting ideas. With the Depression in full swing, the United States Government wants to produce films that bring Americans together, not divide them. I would argue that is why there is no mention of slavery, reconstruction or post war racial relations. All the audience sees are white, smiling faces. Not one African-American was shown in this clip. In this video the National Park Service is trying to show one, clear image of the past. However, as we know today, history is not as clear as this video portrays it to be. That is the challenge of a historian. To showcase the complexities of history, but at the same time to present a message that is understandable to the public.
One thing this video does, is present one clear Anglo-centric view of 1930s Alabama heritage.