The confederate monument known as Silent Sam at UNC Chapel Hill was toppled by protesters Aug. 21, 2018. This follows other controversy from earlier in the year.
“It was to honor the dead that fought on the side of the confederacy in the civil war,” said Brian Harrington, social studies teacher at Athens Drive.
Silent Sam was erected in 1913 to honor the students attending UNC Chapel Hill that fought and died in the Civil War. The name Silent Sam comes from sculptor John Wilson who did not give the soldier a box of ammunition to go along with the rifle he carries.
April 30 Maya Little, student at UNC, poured blood and red ink on Silent Sam. It cost approximately 4,048 dollars to clean off the statue. Recently, Little has been found guilty by Orange County District Court Judge Samantha Cabe, but will not be punished because it falls under the law of necessity.
“[The confederacy] for a lot of people represents racism, pro slavery, and kind of those types of issues,” said Shavonne Hairston, social studies teacher at Athens Drive.
Racism and slavery were big aspects of the confederacy and the time period this statue was built in. People today still feel certain ways about these subjects which is sparking controversy around confederate monuments like Silent Sam.
“After the confederate flag it kind of turned to the statues,” said Harrington.
The confederate flag is also controversial and has been for a few years. The monuments have also become controversial because of the views of the confederacy and southern people.
There have also been protests both for and against the statue since it was toppled. Police have been at the protests to keep protestors separate to minimize fighting. The police have placed fencing around the monument to keep people away from doing anything else to it.
All that is currently left of Silent Sam is the base. The soldier on top that was toppled was removed by officials and taken off of the grounds. The current location of it has not yet been disclosed.
“As with any type of social change you’re going to have something like this happen to show people ‘Hey maybe we need to think about changing the whole process’ and if we go back to civil rights of the 60’s and the 70’s, I mean Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, all these big leaders were technically punished, but it brought about this awareness,” said Hairston.