As many are aware, on the evening of August 20, 2018, community organizers and protestors toppled the confederate monument in McCorkle Place, commonly known as Silent Sam.
The statue was erected in 1913, and has intentionally reinforced ideals of white supremacy on UNC’s campus since. For over a century, Silent Sam has towered over UNC’s student body, continuously reminding Black students (who weren’t admitted until 1951) of North Carolina’s involvement in the confederacy and the institution for which they fought—chattel slavery.
For decades, Black students, faculty, staff, and community members have criticized the statue’s presence. These efforts have included petitions, protests for removal, vandalism, sit-ins, boycotts, and discussions across campus. Despite these efforts, no official action had been taken, until Monday.
For many in our community, the statue served as a physical reminder of the back-breaking work done by the American slaves from which many of us descended, as well as the decades of activism and protest led by members of our community. BSM, The Real Silent Sam Coalition, Black Congress, Campus Y, and countless other organizations and individuals have understood and tried to correct the vile hatred for which the statue stood. While student protesters have been slurred with hatred and threats, their work has been unceasing. Though University administration has failed to adequately address “lawlessness” and “mob actions” on the part of KKK members and far-right protesters on campus, they have used those same words to condemn these courageous and dedicated activists.
We support and respect the protestors who rallied in the field and challenged authority in multiple efforts to right this university wrong and tear down this well-known symbol of overt racism. It is time to bring the discussion away from what may be “controversial” and to make action toward what is just. Each student has every right to feel the emotions that these highly politically charged times bring.
We must continue to question the university’s concern for “The safety and security of the students and community” and what that really means. It is evident that the statue is more than a piece of metal. It is monumental symbol of hate that overpowers the strength of its belittled counterpart, the Unsung Founders Memorial. Preserve your safety and unite with one another to strengthen the unity and voice of our community.
“Uhuru Ni Upunduzi,” Freedom through Revolution.
Black Student Movement | 2018-2019 | Political Action Committee