The Confederate monument on the UNC – Chapel Hill campus known as Silent Sam has been a local flashpoint of protest for decades.
Now, that statue is in the crosshairs of The Make It Right Project, which is targeting 10 monuments across the country in an attempt to get them removed. Silent Sam is in the company of monuments from Texas to Illinois on the group of 10.
The Make It Right Project has purchased space on two billboards in Raleigh supporting the removal of Silent Sam. The billboards contain a photo of the monument on the Chapel Hill campus covered by a red X. The billboard states that, “North Carolina needs a monumental change.”
Billboards supporting the monument were placed along Interstate 40 earlier this year saying that supporters needed to “protect” Confederate monuments.
Kali Holloway, director of the Make It Right Project, said in a release:
“For five decades, UNC administrators have ignored students’ requests to remove an homage to an army that fought to defend black chattel slavery. From the moment Silent Sam was erected in 1913, when Julian Carr thanked Confederates who ‘saved the very life of the Anglo Saxon race’ and bragged about how he once ‘horse-whipped a Negro wench’ near the site of the statue, it’s been clear the message Silent Sam was meant to send.”
UNC Chancellor Carol Folt has said she would order the statue be removed, if she felt she had the authority to do so. But she has maintained that she is limited by a law passed by the Republican-led General Assembly that bars the removal of “objects of remembrance.”
The North Carolina Historical Commission has taken up a request from Democratic Governor Roy Cooper to remove three Confederate monuments from the old Capitol grounds. The state body commissioned a study committee to review the topic and held a public hearing on the matter. While the historical commission was initially scheduled to meet and weigh in on the decision this spring, a spokesperson told WCHL late last month that there were “no new updates at this time.”
They added that the commission has not yet set a date for its next meeting.
Photo via Make It Right Project