UNC protesters topple Confederate statue
Protesters on Monday night pulled down a Confederate monument at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill whose symbolism has been a source of debate for years. The bronze soldier known as “Silent Sam” was erected in 1913 as a memorial to students and alumni who fought and died for the Confederacy in the Civil War but also served as a reminder of the South’s history of racism. Hundreds of protesters Monday thwarted police, who have constantly guarded the monument in recent months, by concealing the statue with large banners as they tied a rope or cable around it. After they pulled down the statue, chants of “Tar Heels!” and “Whose Campus? Our Campus!” broke out. To support their case that Silent Sam was a racist symbol, the protesters referenced tobacco magnate Julian Carr’s 1913 dedication speech, in which he bragged about whipping a former slave woman on the campus after the Civil War and praised Confederate veterans for ensuring “the purest strain of the Anglo Saxon is to be found in the 13 Southern States.”
Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper has called for removing Silent Sam and other Confederate memorials on public land but said on Twitter the protesters took the wrong approach: “Violent destruction has no place in our communities.” The university’s media relations department called the event dangerous, saying, “We are very fortunate that no one was injured.”
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