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"No one learns at their best when they feel unsafe," Chancellor Carol L. Folt said in announcing her decision. Standish concurs, further noting that "these woman had racial and class privilege that allowed them - through the Silent Sam statue - to shape how all people enter and experience UNC's campus.". It was commissioned for the more than 1,000 UNC students who left their studies to fight on the side of the Confederacy in the Civil War, on the 50th anniversary of the Civil War's beginning. The idea of bringing down Silent Sam and other Confederate statues clearly has a long history, but a letter to the Daily Tar Heel editor in 2003 by Gerald Horne, then a professor of history at UNC, asked whether, like Saddam Hussein's statues that were being pulled down all over Iraq, Silent Sam should be removed. Current NC governor Roy Cooper said in 2017 that UNC system officials could remove the statue, particularly if they thought there was a public safety risk, but the University administrators felt they could not legally do it. RELATED: Black History Plaque Taken … Silent Sam Taken Down! Vox Recommended for you. Protests outside the University of Virginia in Charlottesville in 2017 over Confederate monuments led to a woman’s death in clashes between white supremacists and demonstrators. Removing a toxic symbol from our campus, however, will free the University of North Carolina to fulfill its promise to facilitate research, knowledge, ideas, and frameworks that do address these problems. What will happen to Silent Sam is currently unknown, but it may eventually end up in storage, which was the fate of the Confederate statue taken down in Durham last year. That’s why we need to stick that flag in a museum but leave standing statues of Silent Sam and monuments to his Confederate cohorts. They should. UNC has only admitted black undergraduate students for 27% of its history. Silent Sam honors Confederate soldiers who died in the Civil War. He tells me that, while Julian Carr's racist speech is well known at this point, "less well known is what the United Daughters of the Confederacy were doing in 1913." “The presence of the remaining parts of the monument on campus poses a continuing threat both to the personal safety and well-being of our community and to our ability to provide a stable, productive educational environment. The statue, erected on the Chapel Hill campus in 1913, was torn off its base in August by students protesting its symbolism as a shrine for white supremacy. Nearly 50 years after the end of the Civil War, dozens of Confederate statues were erected around the U.S., but particularly in the South. [...] In view of this situation which so lately prevailed in other areas of the country, the existence on the UNC campus of a monument to men who were militant white supremacists and extremists of the worst kind is no less an affront to the Negro peoples and the intelligentsia than is the gaudy Confederate flag flying from the lily-white dome of Alabama's capitol. It's really important to recognize that statues and monuments are created by those who have the political and financial power to do so, in order to shape people's understanding of their lived environment, to signal power relations, and to claim spaces for these powerful groups. Chancellor Carol L. Folt on Monday said she would step down at the end of the academic year and announced she had ordered the removal of the statue’s base and commemorative plaques because of safety concerns. Statue. But what an honor to be known as the people who moved that which should not be moved—the ministers who gathered together as Silent Sam goes down and … They're not just random pieces of furniture. "A number of historians have shown that powerful white Southerners were creating a revisionist narrative of the Confederacy as a protector of states' rights, Southern homes, and white Southern women in this period," Standish points out. August 21, 2018. In the aftermath of Charlottesville, however, Gov. Silent Sam is reminiscent of a bygone era and deeply offensive to many people of color. Although discussions about removing this and other Civil War era monuments have reached a boiling point in the last year, heated debate about Silent Sam's presence has occurred since the 1960s because of its racist history. Confederate statues were erected around the U.S. statement by the Center for the Study of the American South. 3 People Charged With Toppling Confederate 'Silent Sam' Monument, UNC Officials Condemn Silent Sam Confederate Statue Toppling, Removal of Confederate Monuments and Memorials, University Of North Carolina At Chapel Hill. In a letter to the editor of the Daily Tar Heel, UNC's campus newspaper, student Al Ribak wrote: The primary purpose of the 'memorial' was to associate a fictitious 'honor' with the darkest blot on American history -- the fight of southern racists to keep the Negro peoples in a position of debased subservience. All Rights Reserved, This is a BETA experience. But monuments are erected to propagandize ideas. ... Why German spies blew up this US island - Duration: 7:27. UNC Chancellor Resigns After Ordering Confederate ‘Silent Sam’ Monument Removed. Text of the full speech is available via the UNC library, which in flowery language alludes to Greco-Roman myth and the sacrifices of the women left behind, but also makes plain Carr's contempt for the North and for non-whites: The present generation, I am persuaded, scarcely takes note of what the Confederate soldier meant to the welfare of the Anglo-Saxon race during the four years immediately succeeding the war, when the facts are that their courage and steadfastness saved the very life of the Anglo-Saxon race in the South. ", After Silent Sam was removed on Monday, numerous people have commented on news stories and Facebook and Twitter posts that taking down Confederate monuments eliminates our ability to learn from history. (David Eulitt/Kansas City Star/TNS via Getty Images), UNC Classics Professor Jim O'Hara has also been active in understanding the history of Silent Sam and in petitioning the University administration to remove the statue. "Silent Sam and other Confederate monuments erected during Jim Crow represent white Southerners’ efforts -- and specifically efforts by white Southern women in groups such as the United Daughters of the Confederacy -- to revise Civil War history," UNC history graduate student and Silent Sam sit-in member Jennifer Standish tells me. It lacks transparency and it undermines and insults the Board’s goal to operate with class and dignity,” Smith said in a statement on Monday. The statue was first proposed in 1908 by the United Daughters of the Confederacy in memory of Chapel Hill students who left college and "joined our Southern Army in defense of our State," according to UNC's archives. Silent Sam, like other memorials to the Confederacy, is a monument to a treasonous rebellion against the United States, fought to preserve the enslavement of African Americans. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome), emoving the statue will not, by itself, erase attitudes of white supremacy, eliminate racial violence in our society, provide equal protection to immigrants who enter lawfully, or redress the other injustices that are standing in the way of our nation’s progress. NASA Spacecraft At Mars And The International Space Station Detected ‘Giant Cosmic Flare’ From ‘Silver Dollar Galaxy’, Oldest, Farthest, Brightest: Astronomers Discover Cosmic Heavyweight, Joe Biden’s Inauguration Day Comes As Several Asteroids Whip By, Like Normal, Dinosaur Fossil From Argentina Could Belong To Largest Terrestrial Animal Known To Science. "This has been a long time coming," Standish says, "and it took all of these years of protest to build the energy and power to do this. “While I recognize that some may not agree with my decision to remove the base and tablets now, I am confident this is the right one for our community – one that will promote public safety, enable us to begin the healing process and renew our focus on our great mission,” Folt said. The state university system’s Board of Governors responded by telling Folt to leave by the end of January. At the unveiling, Confederate veteran and UNC trustee Julian Carr gave a speech praising the Confederate army. ", campus at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, N.C., Monday, Aug. 20, 2018. In 1913, Silent Sam was erected on commencement day. Silent Sam was not removed then, but was defaced following the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., on April 8, 1968. In a letter to the Daily Tar Heel, the university's student newspaper, Horne suggests Silent Sam should be toppled just like the statue of Saddam Hussein. The Confederate Monument, University of North Carolina, commonly known as Silent Sam, is a bronze statue of a Confederate soldier by Canadian sculptor John A. Wilson, which stood on the historic McCorkle Place of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) from 1913 until it was pulled down by protestors on August 20, 2018. Removing a toxic symbol from our campus, however, will free the University of North Carolina to fulfill its promise to facilitate research, knowledge, ideas, and frameworks that, address these problems. When 'the bottom rail was on top' all over the Southern states, and today, as a consequence, the purest strain of the Angl0-Saxon is to be found in the 13 Southern States -- Praise God. Protests against Silent Sam have occurred since black students were allowed to enter UNC in 1955. And of course the Silent Sam statue erased the memory of the enslaved people that those young men were fighting to keep enslaved, who are nowhere mentioned on it. So putting up these statues was unambiguously part of the white supremacist movement of the Jim Crow era." Silent Sam was toppled by protesters on the UNC campus in August 2018. Most people wanted the statue moved and properly labeled -- moved from its position of honor at the head of the campus and put in a museum. The remains of the Confederate statue known as “Silent Sam” were removed from the University of North Carolina campus early Tuesday, hours after the school chancellor announced her resignation and said she had ordered the monument taken away. Disclosure: I received my MA and PhD from UNC Chapel Hill and am currently a teaching assistant professor of anthropology at UNC. Folt’s decision to remove Silent Sam’s pedestal as she announced her resignation in January won plaudits from some on campus, but she may have worsened the challenges her successor … Silent Sam was not removed then, but was defaced following the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., on April 8, 1968. One hundred yards from where we stand [on Franklin Street], less than ninety days perhaps after my return from Appomattox, I horse-whipped a negro wench until her skirts hung in shreds, because upon the streets of this quiet village she had publicly insulted an maligned a Southern lady, and then rushed for protection to these University buildings where was stationed a garrison of 100 Federal soldiers. Specifically, in the same year that Silent Sam was dedicated, the UDC "unanimously endorsed and promoted for use in schools a history of the KKK that praised the heroic work they did to preserve white supremacy. No one learns at their best when they feel unsafe.”. Taking Silent Sam down opens the door for reconciliation and will allow UNC to declare itself a true home for all. Following that, a Confederate statue in nearby Durham, NC, was pulled down from in front of the county courthouse. With the backing of the state, Silent Sam has stood proudly and defiantly at UNC Chapel Hill since 1913 . Silent Sam is sitting in storage now. I performed the pleasing duty in the immediate presence of the entire garrison, and for thirty nights afterward slept with a double-barrel shotgun under my head. Roy Cooper (D) also expressed support for Folt’s actions, stating on Twitter: “North Carolina is welcoming to all, and our public university should reflect that.”. Protesters Monday night toppled Silent Sam, the Confederate statue at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Twitter. Again in 1973 and in 1990, students wrote letters to the Daily Tar Heel to discuss the meaning of Silent Sam. All rights reserved. But this political, post-Trump-election moment has also generated an urgency to confront symbols and systems of white supremacy. Standish, however, points out that Silent Sam "actively distorts it and teaches people an incorrect version of history. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, granted UNC permission to remove Silent Sam out of concern over public safety. Today is National Voter Registration Day! "Silent Sam" had stood on a main campus quad from 1913 until it was torn down by protesters who decried what they described as its racist origins. Protesters last Monday toppled the Silent Sam Confederate monument on the campus of UNC-Chapel Hill, after years of controversy and vandalism surrounding the … The history of Silent Sam is far from over. Its former location has been described as "the front door" of the university and "a position of honor". Video taken at UNC around 1 a.m. Tuesday showed people singing and cheering as construction workers carefully removed the remains of Silent Sam. Press accounts in North Carolina said that the protesters used ropes to pull down the statue after first covering it with banners, one of which said that it was time for "a world without white supremacy." Case Study: ‘Silent Sam’. In the Facebook post ACTBAC, or Alamance County Taking Back Alamance County said they took the "black history monument' because Silent Sam was taken down. "We are providing legal notice of an additional reason why Silent Sam must come down now: the statue violates federal anti-discrimination laws by fostering a racially hostile learning environment." On Aug. 20, Silent Sam was finally pulled down, toppled by a coalition of North Carolina students and protestors who decided the statue had been perched on campus for far too long. Overdue conversation about justice and reconciliation Folt to leave by the center for the Study of American. 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