After a group of protesters toppled the Silent Sam Confederate monument in August of this year at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, it has been questioned whether or not the school would put the statue back.
CNN is now reporting that according to the chancellor of the university, Carol Folt, the UNC System Board of Governors provided the UNC Chapel Hill Board of Trustees and herself an alternate location that was described as “safe” and “legal.” They were given a November 15 deadline to provide a new plan. It’s believed that the new statue will be in a more subtle location and not so central to the school’s campus.
In a statement, Carol Folt explained the school’s position on moving the statue to a new location.
“It has become apparent to all that the moment, displayed where it was, is extremely divisive and a threat to public safety, and the day-today mission of the University.”
The statue is more than 100-years-old and was erected as a memorial to the UNC students who fought in the Civil War. Carol Folt stated that the statue does still have a historic significance for the university, but added that place in history was “not at the [university’s] front door.” Her statement also indicated that school officials plan to listen to students as well as the Chapel Hill community as a whole in regard to where the school should relocate Silent Sam.
In the American southeast, Confederate monuments are commonplace near courthouses, schools, universities, and other official state and county buildings.
Since the racially charged protests in Charlottesville, Virginia in August 2017, which left one person dead, there has been a growing outcry from people opposing Confederate monuments. Many of those people believe that honoring the Confederacy in such a way is racially intolerant, citing the fact that the Confederacy was fighting for their right to own slaves. Furthermore, many critics claim that as the Confederacy was attempting to secede from the United States altogether, it’s treasonous and unpatriotic to celebrate a historic military plan to divide the United States of America.
Proponents of Confederacy monuments, however, indicate that statues like Silent Sam are not racially insensitive and simply stand as an acknowledgment to history and to their southern heritage. Many cite destroying such monuments as examples of leftist groups trying to erase history and shame their heritage. They also often cite the number of black Americans who fought in the Civil War as further proof that such history should be honored.
Monuments and statues built in memory of Confederate soldiers and generals, as well as public displays of the Confederate flag, have been a controversial issue for decades but has picked up steam as a huge topic of discussion in recent years.