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Hundreds gather on UNC-CH campus to share views of 'Silent Sam'

Posted October 25, 2015

Two groups not affiliated with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill gathered alongside students Sunday afternoon to share their views of the "Silent Sam" statue. Photo credit: Stefan Garval.
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— Two groups not affiliated with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill gathered alongside students Sunday afternoon to share their views of the "Silent Sam" statue.

The rally was initially organized by members of a group called Taking Back Alamance County, which used social media to garner support.

"Silent Sam," a monument erected in 1913, was dedicated in memory of students who served and died in the Civil War. Earlier this year, "Silent Sam" was vandalized twice, including having "KKK" and "Murderer" spray-painted on its base.

While supporters of the statue showed up in droves, those who said that the monument is racist turned up as well.

In a statement to students, Chancellor Carol Folt asked students and rally attendees to be respectful of one another.

"We want to do everything possible to make sure that such debate takes place in a safe and democratic fashion as has been the tradition on our campus for decades. How our past is remembered and represented on our campus is important to us all, and people have different opinions about how best to do it," she said. "Carolina has a long tradition of freedom of speech. We truly believe differing views can and should be shared in open debate and discourse and we hope all participants will honor this aspiration."

There was shouting and chanting between the two groups, but no physical altercations were reported.

2 Comments

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  • Duane Putnam Oct 27, 2015
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    Hmmm, the blacks were no shows? maybe they as a group have realized that Silent Sam is about the memory of UNC students. Not about the war, or hatred, or slavery. But about more than 300 students who died. Why are some insisting that history be rewritten or ignored, when instead it should be studied and understood. However, if these groups insist, then the books should also be wiped clean of all references to slavery, Martin Luther King Jr., and all of the hyphenated naming needs to go! Are you Americans? Or Not?

  • Rob Creekmore Oct 26, 2015
    user avatar

    Strange, I don't see any African Americans in the group. I would expect so, since it's all about heritage and stuff.