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Confederate statue defaced at UNC-CH

Posted July 5, 2015

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— A Civil War memorial statue at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was found vandalized Sunday morning with the words "black lives matter."

The statue, known as Silent Sam, was erected in 1913 as a monument to 321 alumni who died in the Civil War and students who joined the Confederate Army, according to the university's website.

Vandals used black spray paint to deface the statue, which also had the words "KKK" and "murderer" written on it. No suspects or arrests have been made.

Rick White, the school's associate vice chancellor of Communications and Public Affairs, released the following statement Sunday:

"We understand that the issue of race and place is both emotional and, for many, painful. Carolina is working hard to ensure we have a thoughtful, respectful and inclusive dialogue on the issue," he said. "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. We welcome all points of view, but damaging or defacing statues is not the way to go about it."

The graffiti sparked debate among some in the campus community about whether the statue should be removed.

"I agree black lives do matter," student Ishmael Bishop said. "I am excited that there are students or community members who feel the same way I do, that Confederate monuments on our campus (are) offensive."

He said the person or persons responsible for the vandalism chose to make a statement.

"We send emails and we write letters, and sometimes those emails are ignored and sometimes those letters aren't opened,"Bishop said. "This is a statement. This is one way to do it. Property can be cleaned."

Alumnus Kevin Murach said he never paid much attention to the statue when he was on campus.

"I certainly don't endorse people doing graffiti in any capacity because it's defacing public property, which is illegal," he said. "But I suppose I can appreciate that people are frustrated by a statue that's commemorating something related to the confederacy."

Xavier Robertson, who interns at the school, said he sees the tagging as a "really deep message."

"I just feel like it's a slap in the face," he said of the statue. "I definitely would like, for one, for people to know who this guy was, and then, two, for the statue to be removed."

Last week, a monument in Maplewood Cemetery in Durham honoring local Confederate soldiers was similarly vandalized.

"Black Lives Matter" and "Tear It Down" were spray-painted on the granite marker, which was put up in May to honor all veterans who fought for the Confederacy in the Orange County area during the Civil War.

47 Comments

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  • Heather Bank Jul 6, 2015
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    Amen The black community does not care about their youth and the So-called Pro-Black Leaders never address the important issues in the Black community, but love to be in the spot light when it involves a shoots of a black man by a non-black..
    Jesse Jackson and the NAACP keep the hate and tension alive to bilk and brainwash the black community to keep the money in their coffers.. If they cared about the black on black violence they would address the issue of fatherless children, drugs and violence.. But you will never see that happen- they know where their bread is buttered..
    So more mothers will kill their children, Black children will grow up with no fathers or discipline, and they will continue to value Jordans over an education.. Same as it ever was.. MLK died for nothing

  • Pat Demby Jul 6, 2015
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    Excuses on top of excuses. Sorry, but you're mindset is why real change is so far away in the troubled black community; you want to blame and want outside help for internal problems. Fact is, there have been programs on top of programs, laws on top of laws since the 1960's to affect the change you speak of. What has it done? On a large scale, nothing. Why? Because the majority don't want real change.

  • Richard Hertz Jul 6, 2015
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    Poverty the white man as always someone or something else. Just because you are poor does not mean you have to go out and commit a crime. I came from a poor family and I worked 60 hours a week for 20 years to get where I am at. I never had to resort to crime. Just more excuses for the libers and the black community to use

  • Gerrimy Tann Jul 6, 2015
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    For those who keep saying all lives matter, you clearly don't get it. the black lives matter movement isn't there to devalue other lives. Its a statement that up lifts. Its to get you to recognize what you refuse to recognize that our lives do indeed matter. This is necessary because for the entire history of this country, black lives have been devalued. Which is why you hear people bring up black on black crime stats but aren't willing to do anything about it. They just want to shut us up. Some of you ask how can black people say black lives matter when there is so much black on black crime? I'll answer it for you. Because we don't need you adding to the crime totals! Because there are things you can help us with to change it! Policy changes to start. Change voting habits! If all lives matter like you say it does then get out here and help. Otherwise its nothing but some hollow rhetoric used as a disarming device in an argument.

  • Gerrimy Tann Jul 6, 2015
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    Why would WRAL report Chicago news over news in Chapel Hill? I also find it funny how people talk about how black on black crime is so under-reported but everyone seems to know about it. Seems like people are reporting on it just fine. Maybe they just aren't reporting on it the way you want them to, as in, 'lets not talk about anything but black on black crime'. Again how in the world does black on black crime has to do with a Civil War memorial of confederate soldiers fighting for white supremacy. These same confederates killed roughly 100,000 American soldiers yet people still want to praise them. Imagine if these were men of muslim faith! Why doesn't anyone want to celebrate the American/Union soldiers who died in the war? Why only the confederates?

  • Sam Nada Jul 6, 2015
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    I find your perspective to be highly selective and biased. There was a long history between the black communities and the police in the cities where the riots have taken place. Why would whites riot when they are not being victimized by the police? No one person shot 47 people. What you fail to say is how many whites were killed in the same period. According to the FBI stats I linked there are more white homicides in the country each year than black. In addition crime is much more highly correlated with poverty than it is with race. Clearly poverty is higher among minorities here, so they have a disproportionate amount of crime. There is no racial bias in the media reporting mass killings by a single individual, which by the way are nearly always by white males.

  • Richard Hertz Jul 6, 2015
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    Sam Nada
    Yes but you don't see white's protesting and burning down their neighborhoods. The point was black on black crime is out of control but it does not matter to the black community black lives only matter when the death comes at the hands of a white man. This weekend 47 people shot in Chicago. Mostly black it is a non story here on WRAL or any other network. If a white person would have shot the 47 it would be the only story

  • Sam Nada Jul 6, 2015
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    Sean Creasy - "Trying to use something that happened 10 years ago as an example doesn't lend weight to the point you're trying to make...If it had happened in the last say 2 or 3 years it would be more relevant... These attacks on Confederate markers are recent events that clearly show that racism isn't just a "white thing" but exists among all races..."

    If you read the link in my second post that you quoted you'll see I was trying to reference a very recent incident, just a few days ago. I think it is relevant.

    Objecting to perceived racist symbols is not in itself racism. But even so, using the excuse that racism exists in both directions is hardly productive. Does that make it somehow acceptable, forgivable, or pointless to work on fixing it? It's abhorrent not matter where it exists.

  • Paul Jones Jul 6, 2015
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    I think H you missed the original poster's point, or chose to ignore it. Look at those FBI statistics and you will discover that most violent crimes are blacks killing blacks. The number of murders committed by blacks in 2013 outnumbered all other races combined, yet blacks are 13-15% of the population. That's a huge problem.

    See the link to Andrew Young down below. The man is spot on. People should listen to him. MLK raised the same concerns over the violence in St Louis back when he was still alive, yet the problem persists. Don't deflect the issue. It's a real one. I don't have a solution, but I think it must come from within the black community.

  • Johnny Byrd Jul 6, 2015
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    A Civil War memorial statue at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was found vandalized Sunday morning with the words "black lives matter."

    And white lives given in defense of their homes don't?
    This is a memorial, ie gravestone, for UNC alumni that paid the ultimate price defending their homes.

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