'Silent Sam' Sparks Conversation At UNC
Posted April 23, 2003 9:22 a.m. EDT
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — A silent soldier is causing a ruckus on the campus of the
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Silent Sam, is a tribute to Carolina alumni who fought in the Civil War. Now, the nearly century-old statue is the site of controversy.
"This statue was put up to keep people like them in slavery," said UNC Professor Gerald Horne.
Horne calls the monument to Confederate soldiers a monstrosity.
In a letter to the
Daily Tar Heel
, the university's student newspaper,
Silent Sam should be toppled just like the statue of Saddam Hussein.
"It's very interesting that people were celebrating the toppling of the statue of Saddam a few days ago, because, of course, in Chapel Hill, people say you can't take down statues. That's history," he said.
Horne's history lesson surprised students who stopped to take pictures in front of the statue Tuesday. What he calls a lightning rod, others simply call a landmark.
"We didn't know the significance, but now we know. We were just taking pictures to give to friends," said a visitor.
And where some see black and white, others see shades of gray. Axel Ruprecht said to take down the statue is to sanitize history.
"My ancestors fought for the North and I think they were right, but it's part of our history. Those who fought, fought for a number of reasons," he said.
UNC leaders said the statue is part of the university's history and it has no plans to remove it. They said UNC embraces diversity and has several buildings named after prominent African-Americans.