Last August students joined together to pull down the Confederate monument “Silent Sam” at the Chapel Hill campus of the University of North Carolina which was erected in 1913 by the United Daughters of the Confederacy.
Now, the University wants to build a 5 million dollar building, with “state of the art” security, to house Sam for posterity.
And students are fighting back.
“Months after a controversial Confederate statue was pulled from its pedestal by a crowd of protesting students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, fresh protests erupted on the school’s campus on Monday in opposition to the university’s plan to keep the statue on campus, housed in a new $5 million building.
WITN-TV estimated that a “couple hundred” students and community members took part in Monday night’s protest. Videos shared on social media showed students and others chanting “Stand up, fight back!” and other slogans as they marched through downtown Chapel Hill before making their way onto the UNC campus.”
— The Daily Tar Heel (@dailytarheel) December 4, 2018
We are signing on to this statement from Defend UNC regarding UNC Chapel Hill's recommendation that Silent Sam be re-erected on campus. DM us if your organization also wants to sign on. We also encourage organizations to release their own statement if they prefer. #SilentSam pic.twitter.com/PgTu7TJt2G
— Take Action Chapel Hill (@takeactionch) December 3, 2018
“The Center would be in a new, free-standing building with state-of-the-art security and outstanding programming,” said a statement issued by the office of Chancellor Carol Folt.
Folt’s office described the plan as the “best legal option” for the school and one that would protect public safety while “preserving the monument and its history.” As the Raleigh News & Observer noted, a 2015 state law prohibits the removal of historic objects of remembrance on state property except in cases of preservation or construction, and it limits options for relocation.
“We have a long and important history to tell, and the Center will offer us an excellent opportunity to tell it all,” Folt’s office said of the plan. “We are the only public university to have experienced our nation’s history from the start ― war, slavery, Jim Crow laws, suffrage, civil unrest, as well as hope, freedom, emancipation, civil rights, opportunity, access, learning, and great discoveries fostered here. All of these subjects will be covered in the proposed Center.”
I am of the opinion that if the State of North Carolina wishes to take procession of Silent Sam and house him in an appropriate museum or battleground area we should make no objections.
But to charge the student body, particularly one that the university profits so mightily from due to the talents of its black student athletes…
…extra fees to accommodate this monument to the South’s racist past is unconscionable.