The Peace Times

“Silent Sam” Keeps Monuments in Spotlight

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Photo by Caitlin Richards

Photo by Caitlin Richards

Photo by Caitlin Richards

Caitlin Richards, News Editor

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The “Silent Sam” Confederate statue located at the University of Chapel Hill was pulled down by more than 250 protesters on Aug. 20. The statue will be held in storage until there is a plan of where to relocate it, but it continues to spark debate. 

“Silent Sam” had been standing since 1913, and it was always said that the statue honored of the boys who went off to fight in the Civil War from UNC. However, it has become offensive in recent times as many people claim it was erected by white supremacists.

“I can understand why people would want the monument to come down and I can also see others say that’s their cultural history and they don’t want it to go away,” said William Peace University senior Damani Toudle.

Some leaders on the UNC campus think that “Silent Sam” should be repaired and put back up to let it continue standing as a monument and symbol of the past, but think that it should be relocated to a safer place on campus. Meanwhile, more than 300 UNC workers have signed a letter suggesting that “Silent Sam” should stay away from the campus as they think it demonstrates hate.

Following the “Silent Sam” teardown, there have been more protests and rallies to try to keep it down. Every Saturday, people from around the state deliver flowers to where the statue stood to show respect to what happened in the past during the Civil War.  

According to the News & Observer, Chancellor Carol Folt sent a message to the UNC community Friday asking for help in finding a new campus home for the toppled Confederate statue. “Silent Sam has a place in our history and on our campus where its history can be taught, but not at the front door of a safe, welcoming, proudly public research university,” Folt wrote.

“We want to provide opportunities for our students and the broader community to reflect upon and learn from that history. Wide consultation, and lots of listening on campus and beyond, are necessary if we are to move toward peace and healing.”

Confederate Monuments have been a controversy, especially since the Charlottesville, VA protest last year. Some people believe that the confederate statues represent racism and hate and need to be brought down while others think that the confederate monuments should remain standing to be an educational topic of what once happened.

Another such statue located at the State Capitol grounds in downtown Raleigh caused controversy. People wanted it to be relocated to Bentonville Battlefield for its own protection, but it was voted that it was going to stay at the same place and not be removed.

According to NPR, “it is time for North Carolina to realize that we can document and learn from our history without idolizing painful symbols,” said Gov. Roy Cooper. “The General Assembly needs to change its 2015 law so our state and its people have a better path to remove or relocate these monuments safely.”

It is recommended that on both the UNC campus and the Capitol grounds, there needs to be a monument with signs explaining what African-Americans have contributed to society and to memorialize the contributions of African-Americans to our state.

 

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“Silent Sam” Keeps Monuments in Spotlight