Confederate Memorial (“Silent Sam”)

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Monument erected in 1913 at the center of McCorkle Place on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The statue is commonly known by it’s nickname, “Silent Sam.” The monument was sponsored by the North Carolina Division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy and University of North Carolina Alumni, who dedicated it, “to the sons of the University / who entered the War of 1861-65” (quoted from a plaque on the side of the monument).

The monument has been racialized since its inception. Julian S. Carr spoke at the dedication and recounted this story, “100 yards from where we stand, less than 90 days perhaps after my return from Appomattox, I horse-whipped a negro wench, until her skirts hung in shreds, because upon the streets of this quiet village she had publicly insulted and maligned a Southern lady.”

Over time, many in the campus community began researching, discussing, and acknowledging the context in which Silent Sam was created and how the monument is a symbol of white supremacy. When the statue was removed temporarily in 1987 for restoration, there was a movement to keep the statue off campus. In the 2000s, there were several sustained campaigns led by students and activists to remove the monument from campus.

On August 20, 2018, a group of about 250 protestors held a demonstration on McCorkle Place and toppled the statue. UNC removed the monument from the grounds and it remains in storage while campus and state leaders debate the future disposition of Silent Sam.

 

Additional Resources:

Commemorative Landscapes of North Carolina