The Neutral Ground: Character Descriptions

The Neutral Ground:

Character Descriptions

CJ Hunt – director and subject of the film.

Mitch Landrieu - was Mayor of New Orleans from 2010 to 2018. In the summer of 2015, following the massacre of nine African Americans in Charleston’s Emanuel AME Church, Landrieu called for the removal of four monuments in New Orleans - three honoring Confederate leaders and one glorifying a white supremacist militia that staged a violent on the state government in 1874. In December 2015 the City Council approved this removal in a 6-1 vote. However, due to lawsuits and death threats to contractors the removal of those four monuments wasn’t completed until spring of 2017.

Jason Williams - served as the president of the New Orleans City Council from 2014 - 2020. In 2015, he presided over the tumultuous city council hearings and historic 6 - 1 vote to remove four confederate monuments. He begins the film reflecting on his high hopes for a swift efficient monument removal "I'd hoped they'd come down that night. I'd hoped that there were cranes and individuals poised to do that work simultaneously...We can build more than one high rise in this town at one time, so certainly we should have been able to take down a couple of statues." In 2021 Williams was elected New Orleans District Attorney, running on a progressive platform to reduce prosecutions for minor, non-violent offenses and the court’s reliance on money bail and other tools of systemic racism

Christy Coleman - served as CEO of the American Civil War Museum, located in Richmond and Appomattox, Virginia from 2014-2019. Coleman was instrumental in creating the American Civil War Museum through a merger of the Museum of the Confederacy with the American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar. Today, The American Civil War Museum is one of the few museums in the country focused on telling a more complete story of the Civil War from all sides: Union and Confederate, soldiers and civilians, women and children, enslaved and free African Americans.

Karen L. Cox - is an award-winning historian and Professor of History at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Her first book, Dixie’s Daughters: The United Daughters of the Confederacy and the Preservation of Confederate Culture, won the 2004 Julia Cherry Spruill Prize from the Southern Association for Women Historians for the Best Book in Southern Women’s History. Her most recent book No Common Ground: Confederate Monuments and the Ongoing Fight for Racial Justice examines the long history of Confederate monuments from those first built after the Civil War to the protests against them in the summer of 2020.

Malcolm Suber - is a co-founder of Take ‘Em Down Nola, a coalition dedicated to the removal of Confederate monuments and all symbols of white supremacy in New Orleans. This group began organizing months before the New Orleans City Council officially voted to remove four confederate monuments. In the two years between the vote and the eventual removal, the large crowds Take ‘Em Down NOLA mobilized in public action were key in demonstrating that removing these monuments was more than the will of a Mayor. Take ‘Em Down NOLA is currently working to ensure white supremacists names are removed from the schools, streets and monuments of New Orleans.

Thomas Taylor - served as Louisiana Division Commander of The Sons of Confederate Veterans from 2014 to 2016. When we first interviewed him, Thomas was not only the highest ranking member of the SCV in Louisiana, he was also the target of criticism among some white supremacists and neo confederates for his open feud with David Duke. Taylor’s outward stance

against white supremacy and his fierce devotion to keeping confederate heritage alive was initially what made CJ feel safe enough to sit down for an interview.

Michael “Quess” Moore - is a poet, educator, and activist. He is a co-founder of Take ‘Em Down Nola, a coalition dedicated to the removal of Confederate monuments and renaming streets and institutions that memorialize the Confederacy and white supremacy in New Orleans.