Justice

Silent Sam, Confederate Memorial Defaced at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

July 6th 2015

By:
Nicole Charky

'Black lives matter,' 'murderer,' and 'KKK' were spray-painted onto a Confederate soldiers memorial at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill's campus early Sunday in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

By Sunday afternoon, the controversial campus symbol was covered up.

In 1913, "Silent Sam" was erected to commemorate the more than 300 UNC students who died during the Civil War. It was paid for by the Daughters of the Confederacy, according to the Daily Tar Heel.

The memorial has been damaged before, and according to WTVD, the local ABC affiliate, students have had a long history of protest against this symbol and others on campus.

"As an African-American woman, who is a student here, that statue is the very statue that pretty much says I don't belong here, that I shouldn't be here," UNC student Kirsten Adams told ABC11. "It is a relevant statue, and so it should be there, on the other hand if we keep Silent Sam up, if we keep all these halls named after these racists, it's like we're celebrating the racism so you kind of have to draw a line somewhere."

"The artist responsible for this thing we like to call vandalism I think what they've done is not vandalism, they've made a major improvement to the statue," said UNC student, Nikhil Umesh in an interview with ABC11.

Here's how the university responded:

"The extensive discussions with the Carolina community this past year by the Board of Trustees and University leadership and the work we will be doing to contextualize the history of our campus is a big part of advancing those conversations," Rick White, a spokesman for the University, said in a statement. "We welcome all points of view, but damaging or defacing statues is not the way to go about it."

The public use of Confederate symbols has been called into question after an avowed white supremacist allegedly killed nine people in a historic Black church in Charleston, South Carolina. The alleged killer appears in photographs with Confederate symbols and had the Confederate flag on his license plate.

Last month, activist Bree Newsome climbed a flag poll on the capitol grounds in Columbia, South Carolina, to remove the Confederate battle flag, inspiring artists.

 

 

Amid growing calls to remove the Confederate flag -- and even action from private businesses such including major retailers and NASCAR -- South Carolina's legislature meets this week to discuss formally removing the Confederate flag from the capitol grounds. The flag, which flies atop a Civil War memorial, cannot be removed without a two-thirds majority vote from the state legislature.

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Posted by ATTN: on Friday, June 19, 2015