Student Protesters Tear Down Controversial Confederate Statue

More than 100 years after its erection on the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill campus, Silent Sam, a monument to fallen Civil War-era soldiers, has been torn down by a group of 250 students, faculty, and local residents.

Activists have been trying for decades to have Silent Sam removed, and finally on the night before classes began for the year they reached their goal—albeit not by official means. The crowd carried anti-white supremacy banners and cheered and celebrated as they tore the monument down using ropes. Protesters gathered around the fallen symbol of white supremacy, taking turns kicking it and covering it with dirt.

“I feel liberated — like I’m a part of something big. It’s literally my fourth day here,” freshman Natalia Walker told The Daily Tar Heel. “This is the biggest thing I’ve ever been a part of in my life.”

The demonstration follows a rally in support of Maya Little, a UNC doctoral student who now faces honor court and criminal charges for protesting the statue in the spring, defacing it with red paint and her own blood.

“It’s time to build monuments to honor those who have been murdered by white supremacy,” Little said. “It’s time to tear down Silent Sam. It’s time to tear down UNC’s institutional white supremacy.”

Despite growing calls for the removal of not only this racist heap of scrap metal but many others around the country, state law apparently protected the statue as a “work of art” owned by the state, thus making it “impossible” for the university to remove it. Instead, UNC spent $390,000 on security for the statue.

UNC Chancellor Carol Folt said, “the monument has been divisive for years, and its presence has been a source of frustration for many people,” but added that the protesters’ actions were “unlawful and dangerous” and that police are investigating the vandalism.

The office of the state’s governor, Roy Cooper, tweeted about the incident saying “The Governor understands that many people are frustrated by the pace of change and he shares their frustration, but violent destruction of public property has no place in our communities.”

F**k that, Roy. Racism has no place in our communities, and until you stop protecting symbols of racism the people have no choice but to do the right thing that the state is incapable of accomplishing itself. Save your tweets, Roy.

Our country has a dark, racist past (and present), but just because something is part of our history does not mean it should be celebrated. Acknowledged and learned from, but not celebrated. It simply does not make sense to continue having so many monuments celebrating the villains of our nation’s history.

It would be unthinkable to see monuments to high-ranking Nazi officials or fallen Nazi soldiers in Germany, and yet the United States holds on with white knuckles to symbols of its racist past.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

70 comments

Marie W
Marie W4 months ago

Thanks for sharing

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Frances G
Past Member 10 months ago

thank you

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Roberto M
Roberto MARINI10 months ago

thanks for this post.

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RONALD Walker
RONALD Walker10 months ago

Racism has no place in our communities, and until you stop protecting symbols of racism the people have no choice but to do the right thing that the state is incapable of accomplishing itself. Just remember that so call white supremacy have said: "hitler did a good job with the Jewish people"! Mini brain tRumps biggest supporters are white supremacy!

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danii p
danii p10 months ago

Thank you

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danii p
danii p10 months ago

Thank you

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danii p
danii p10 months ago

Thank you

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Julie W
Julie W10 months ago

Milli: " The flag is totally different to a statue representing a by-gone era." No, it is still just a SYMBOL. What matters is what it represents to people. That statue represented white supremacy to the students. I don't condone violence, but I understand their frustration.

You and Paul B are definitely showing your white privilege! If someone is unhappy with the status quo you expect them to put up and shut up.

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Karen Swenson
Karen Swenson10 months ago

Paul B--I guess I will have to spell this out--I HAVE NEVER EVER CONDONED VIOLENCE OR BREAKING THE LAW. I said I understand the frustration of the people who after 100yrs standing and many decades of trying to have it removed, it fell on deaf ears! So, Paul, they did try and have it removed peacefully and lawfully, FOR DECADES!! AND Don't talk to me about the lawlessness of the left, because compared to the alt right/white Supremacists/white Nationalists, Neo-Nazis/ Neo-Fascists and all the law breaking violence they continuously do, the left is like having a tea party with a bunch of comatose patients.

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Sue H
Sue H10 months ago

I'm wondering why no one has listened to "activists have been trying for Decades to have this statue removed"?? Why should it take decades??

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