Idolizing symbols and ideologies which represent treason, subjugation, hate and genocide is certainly a terrible thing. History should be preserved in context, though, so that mistakes from the past are not repeated. Movies can also help provide sources for context and empathy.
Sherman’s March (1986) is a documentary directed by Ross McElwee. Although the declared topic of the film is entertainingly diverted, there are key moments which speak to both the modern and historical South. McElwee takes the opportunity to work through problems in his personal life, and to showcase an array of Southern women in his travels. Sherman’s march during the Civil War is also discussed.
To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) is directed by Robert Mulligan, and stars Gregory Peck. A small-town lawyer risks his entire livelihood by representing a black man in Alabama during the 1930s. To Kill a Mockingbird is one of the finest adaptations, derived from Harper Lee’s masterpiece bearing the same title.
In the Heat of the Night (1967) is directed by Norman Jewison, and stars both Sidney Poitier and Rod Steiger. A traveling black police officer from the North is detained after a murder occurs in a small Mississippi town. His qualifications far exceed that of the sheriff and his men in solving the case. It is rumored that they had to film much of it in Illinois for Mr. Poitier’s safety.