Silent Sam is Silent
August 21, 2018 7:32 AM   Subscribe

On the last night before the start of classes at UNC Chapel Hill, protestors finally topppled Silent Sam, the statue on campus commemorating Confederate soldiers. (University's response here.) The protests started to show solidarity for Maya Little, the UNC history graduate student who was arrested in the spring for splashing red ink mixed with her own blood on the statue after she read the statue's dedication speech by Ku Klux Klan supporter Julian Carr.
posted by astapasta24 (99 comments total) 49 users marked this as a favorite
 
@UNCAsianStudies:

Welcome back, Heels! The Department of Asian Studies would like to remind everyone where we stand on "Silent Sam" to start the year: https://goo.gl/KoJw2S @Move_Silent_Sam @RealSilentSam @silentsamsitin

Linked statement (in its entirety):

July 19, 2018

The faculty and staff of the Department of Asian Studies urge the officers of UNC and other state officials to pursue every avenue to remove the “Silent Sam” monument.


The tweet went out yesterday morning. Quite timely.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 7:44 AM on August 21 [15 favorites]


The student newspaper's coverage.
posted by thelonius at 7:47 AM on August 21 [5 favorites]


I’m totally bummed that I missed this because I would have loved to be there and see it fall. But i’ll be home in a few hours and am looking forward to not seeing Silent Sam when I get there.
posted by thivaia at 7:48 AM on August 21 [13 favorites]


every confederate memorial in the country should be repurposed into public toilets, and every confederate flag into toilet paper.
posted by poffin boffin at 7:50 AM on August 21 [62 favorites]


UNC Class of 2010 here, not mad about it.

There is extensive coverage of this at the Daily Tar Heel, UNC's student newspaper. UNC has one of the best journalism schools in the country, so the DTH is legitimately worth a read.

A thing that's important to understand about Silent Sam is this: although UNC's campus has dozens and dozens of monuments scattered around, Silent Sam was absolutely THE most prominent one due to its placement. It was the only monument visible from the main drag separating UNC's campus from downtown Chapel Hill. It was the first thing you'd see when returning to campus. It never should have been there.
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:51 AM on August 21 [35 favorites]


The republican tweeting about unhinged democrats is a real treat. Kind of bizarre for a republican to call out democrats for "hiding their history," and not just because the parties have essentially switched sides since that era. There's also contemporary Republican's ongoing and active legacy of discrimination and racism. Taking down the statue is also obviously done to the point of not glorifying a fucked up past, like, literally people were asking for this thing to be hidden out of sight.
posted by GoblinHoney at 7:53 AM on August 21 [1 favorite]


This article from a few years back is imo required reading on this issue: Consider North Carolina’s anti-Confederate heritage, too

If someone had tried to put up Confederate monuments all over North Carolina shortly after the Civil War, there might have been another one. The unanimous Confederate white South is nothing but a cherished myth – especially in North Carolina.

White North Carolinians erected the vast majority of our Confederate monuments – 82 out of 98 – after 1898, decades after the Civil War ended. More importantly, they built the monuments after the white supremacy campaigns had seized power by force and taken the vote from black North Carolinians. The monuments reflected that moment of white supremacist ascendency as much as they did the Confederate legacy.

posted by showbiz_liz at 7:55 AM on August 21 [48 favorites]


The statue toppled and students began to cover the head in dirt and mulch

One wishes they'd had a better plan for more permanently damaging the statue - sledgehammers to ruin the face or something. But, now, I suppose the university can't restore it without causing a very large PR scandal. Hopefully they'll just let it go.
posted by eustacescrubb at 7:55 AM on August 21 [10 favorites]


Every Confederate statue that comes down should be replaced with a statue of a black hero: Harriett Tubman; Phyllis Wheatley; Rosa Parks; Robert Smalls; Dorie Miller. So many possibilities there.
posted by emjaybee at 7:56 AM on August 21 [34 favorites]


What’s the opposite of “.”?
posted by doubtfulpalace at 7:56 AM on August 21 [4 favorites]


!
posted by seanmpuckett at 8:00 AM on August 21 [31 favorites]


But, now, I suppose the university can't restore it without causing a very large PR scandal. Hopefully they'll just let it go.

I don't hate the idea of leaving the empty pedestal there.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:00 AM on August 21 [23 favorites]


BTW, check out the chickenshit plaque inscription on Silent Sam:

To the sons of the university who entered the war of 1861 – 65 in answer to the call of their country and whose lives taught the lesson of their great commander that duty is the sublimest word in the English language

"the war of 1861 – 65"

"their country"

"their great commander"

Could you vague that up a little more, guys? Someone might realize what you were actually talking about.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:04 AM on August 21 [61 favorites]


honestly surprised they didn't go with "the war of northern aggression"
posted by poffin boffin at 8:05 AM on August 21 [13 favorites]


It's like there might be valid reasons to be ashamed of this heritage of theirs they're always going on about.
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:09 AM on August 21 [31 favorites]


honestly surprised they didn't go with "the war of northern aggression"

I think that if they had, it would already have been removed, or at least moved someplace else on campus. It lasted as long as it did by being acceptable to 'moderate' people who didn't care to think about what it really represented too much. If you compare the plaque inscription to the words that were spoken at its dedication, it becomes clear that this was a deliberate choice.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:09 AM on August 21 [6 favorites]


In the past, people, even right here on Metafilter, have argued that honoring the noble sacrifices of Confederate soldiers is a valid expression of cultural heritage - never mind what the war was fought over.

It was erected in 1913

I spent some time in an area of Croatia that had been at one point The Republic Of Serbian Krajina. I was walking through the town and I kept seeing the same symbols spraypainted on certain buildings - HRV (the country code for Croatia, Hrvatska), or a crude red and white checkerboard. Most building had none, there were a couple in public areas, and other, abandoned, buildings had three or four.

The victors were reminding everyone exactly who had won the war, and exactly who was in charge now.


So I'm not really fuckin' sympathetic to a mass-produced statue as the display of a noble tradition of honorable service.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:13 AM on August 21 [16 favorites]


BTW, check out the chickenshit plaque inscription on Silent Sam:

… whose lives taught the lesson of their great commander that duty is the sublimest word in the English language


Also he never said that.
posted by brentajones at 8:14 AM on August 21 [4 favorites]


This reporting in the News and Observer last night :')
Police stood guard over the pedestal and the fallen statue, while people in the crowd hugged and raised their cell phones to capture the moment.

Rain began to fall, and thunder rolled in.

In the distance, car horns honked on Franklin Street, and people streamed out of the bars, though this time the commotion wasn’t about a basketball championship.

But it sounded like it. In the pouring rain, the crowd around Silent Sam yelled: “Tar!” “Heels!”
posted by witchen at 8:15 AM on August 21 [29 favorites]


The administration at UNC has been under increasing pressure from the Republican political majority here. The Board of Governors is getting packed with Republican operatives and gladhanders and they are pressuring academic programs to hew to conservative doctrine, up to and including a proposal for founding a college of conservative studies.

In that light, what the message from the Chancellor does not say is more interesting than what it does say. There are no invocations of history or the significance of the statue, and there are no words stronger than "vandalism". There is no mention of restoration or repair, or of collecting damages. More attention is paid to the safety of students on campus than to concerns about campus property. It sounds anodyne, and it might be expressing intentions as weak as it sounds, but it's also about the strongest way Chancellor Folt can say "good riddance and to hell with the thing" without being dragged before the Board for speaking against the ruling party.
posted by at by at 8:20 AM on August 21 [37 favorites]


It is very rare that I, a Wolfpack grad, congratulate UNC folk for anything other than grinding Duke into the dirt (which is, after all, the sacred duty of all good people).

But good on y'all.

And if you're terribly concerned about the loss of Your Heritage, in the words of many a Southern matriarch, bless your heart.
posted by delfin at 8:20 AM on August 21 [36 favorites]


Over in Virginia the city of Charlottesville has been trying to remove the Confederate statues in their city, but can't because of a state law. There's a slowly moving court case to do it all nice and legal. I was kind of hoping someone would just speed that process along late some night, perhaps on the anniversary of last year's murderous Nazi rally in Charlottesville. No such luck.

I went to a prep school in Houston that in the 1980s had a Confederate soldier mascot, "Johnny Reb". Our team was the Rebels. As kids we never thought anything of it, that was just our school's brand. That's how racist indoctrination works in the South. Fortunately our fancy prep school education actually taught us some critical thinking. Around high school we started waking up a bit to how celebrating the Confederacy was a bit peculiar, a statement we weren't sure we were OK with. They dropped the mascot a couple years after I left but it took another 10 years to rename the team.
posted by Nelson at 8:29 AM on August 21 [7 favorites]




[We don't need to be posting deliberately horrifying things to remind people that horrifying things are horrifying, thanks.]
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 8:43 AM on August 21 [10 favorites]


Toppling the statues of your oppressors is a glorious tradition!

Lenin statues toppled across Ukraine (YouTube)

Saddam Hussein statue toppled in Baghdad 2003 (with the help of U.S. military, who apparently thought it was ok to do there)(The Guardian)

Stalin-toppling in Budapest 1956 (Wikipedia)
posted by heatherlogan at 8:45 AM on August 21 [15 favorites]


Maybe they should replace the statue with one in memory of George Stinney Jr.

Ryanshepard's link is significantly more than horrifying. Possibly the worst thing I have ever clicked through on this site.

As noted, the photo is from a dramatization. Just for myself: sometimes, I force myself to look at this sort of thing as a witness. The victim had to endure it, the least I can do is to look (flinchingly), remember and honour them.

Back to the statues discussion: I have absolutely no problem with taking them down.

But sometimes I think: well, if statues are so important for history, perhaps we shouldn't take them down, but put them into their proper historical context. So a statue of Thomas Jefferson should be surrounded by hundreds of equally large statues of his slaves, all individual, with as many of their names as we know.
posted by jb at 8:55 AM on August 21 [13 favorites]


"sublimest?"
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 8:58 AM on August 21 [13 favorites]


The argument these Confederate images are history is total and utter bullshit. Germany is a great comparison. They don't have this problem of "but our heritage!". No one's wringing their hands in Munich about whether they should tear down a statue commemorating Nazi soldiers, there's no elementary schools named after Heinrich Himmler. Germany teaches their Nazi history very effectively, it's not at all ignored. But the Germans aren't confused on whether it's ok to cover up racism and violence as some way to celebrate regional pride.
posted by Nelson at 9:02 AM on August 21 [28 favorites]


From JamesBay's link:"It's no secret that UNC's administration has recently been eager to see Silent Sam go—though not quite eager enough to defy the state and take it down themselves. (The NC state legislature passed a law in 2015 making it illegal to remove Confederate statues.)"

ffs
posted by gwint at 9:03 AM on August 21 [5 favorites]


Yup. The article I linked above was published around that time.

Please don't forget, though, that the NC legislature is possibly the least legitimate elected body in the damn country at this point. It's not like the majority of the state was clamoring for that law.
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:07 AM on August 21 [16 favorites]


Now someone needs to take a pickaxe to the pedestal.
posted by Gev at 9:10 AM on August 21


Good work, kids. I'm proud of you guys.
posted by praemunire at 9:22 AM on August 21 [4 favorites]


DO IT LIKE DURHAM
posted by koeselitz at 9:27 AM on August 21 [6 favorites]


Our team was the Rebels.

There's nothing wrong with calling your team the Rebels as long as your mascot is Leia Organa.
posted by Faint of Butt at 9:30 AM on August 21 [48 favorites]


honestly surprised they didn't go with "the war of northern aggression"


In high school in the 80s I had an history teacher than exclusively referred to it as either the "War of Northern Aggression" or the "War Between the States," rather than the Civil War.  Generally a good teacher otherwise, but truly a caricature of the old guard Southerner. At least thanks to her example though, I have since referred to it myself as the "War of Southern Treason."  "Slaver's Rebellion" I've run across recently and it now gets tossed in there occasionally as well.

One thing I did notice on my recent travels through the region by bicycle is that there are far, far fewer Confederate battle flags on display by random citizens than there used to be when I last lived in the South 17 years ago.  It appears it's beginning to sink in that though it may be part of your heritage, as it is my own, that it also represents fear, hatred, and repression to a pretty hefty chunk of your fellow Americans.  So I can only hope the current kerfuffle over the statues just mirrors a similar arc for the statues on display as well.
posted by los pantalones del muerte at 9:31 AM on August 21 [14 favorites]


The Daily Tar Heel put out their print edition despite losing Internet last night due to storms.
posted by melodykramer at 9:36 AM on August 21 [6 favorites]


What years of protests and petitioning and asking failed to accomplish, collective action quickly achieved. As ever, direct action gets the goods.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:36 AM on August 21 [25 favorites]


There's nothing wrong with calling your team the Rebels as long as your mascot is Leia Organa.

We did try to get Admiral Ackbar.
posted by asperity at 9:38 AM on August 21 [9 favorites]


They could put up a statue honoring David Richmond, Franklin McCain, Ezell Blair Jr. (Jibreel Khazan), and Joe McNeil, the "Greensboro Four" who staged a sit-in in at the Greensboro Woolworth's on February 1, 1960.

Or the 25,000 North Carolinians who fought for the United States.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:42 AM on August 21 [10 favorites]


The Board of Governors is getting packed with Republican operatives and gladhanders and they are pressuring academic programs to hew to conservative doctrine, up to and including a proposal for founding a college of conservative studies.

Oh, my god. Can it be that they are so abysmally ignorant that they think Liberal Arts are about politics? Cry, the beloved country.
posted by Mental Wimp at 9:42 AM on August 21 [7 favorites]


Usually, right after a UNC win in basketball, and the morning after, my Facebook feed is a flurry of GDTBATH!'s (Good Day to be a Tar Heel!) and GO HEELS and the like, and I get immense joy from going through and liking all those statuses and briefly reconnecting with all my friends from college.

Today, there's been a similar vibe. There's been some "I like that it's down but vandalism", but folks have been good about bringing up the state government's stonewalling on the issue.

The Carr dedication speech being newly publicized has also really helped, I think. There's no hiding behind "Oh it's to remember those who died". This was put up to honor white supremacy. Period.
posted by damayanti at 9:49 AM on August 21 [12 favorites]


This ones for North Carolina! C’mon and raise up!
posted by Bacon Bit at 9:50 AM on August 21 [2 favorites]


...I have since referred to it myself as the "War of Southern Treason." "Slaver's Rebellion" I've run across recently and it now gets tossed in there occasionally as well.

Now that we seem to be able to more openly speak the truth that the KKK was a terrorist organization, and in ISIS we've referred to a group that militarily took and held territory as still just being "terrorists", I hope soon that we can take the logical next step and describe the Confederacy as terrorists. Notably, a terrorist organization which successfully assassinated a President of the United States.

Though you sure wouldn't know it from all of the Congressional pardons for ex-Confederates involving Section 3 of the 14th Amendment:
No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may, by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.
But it was used to block a Socialist from taking his elected seat in Congress back around 1920!

Maybe we need to dust off the bit about giv[ing] aid or comfort to the enemies thereof again, given present circumstances.
posted by XMLicious at 10:09 AM on August 21 [4 favorites]


The Carr dedication speech being newly publicized has also really helped, I think. There's no hiding behind "Oh it's to remember those who died". This was put up to honor white supremacy. Period.

Comments in the Daily Tar Heel reveal that defenders of the statue reject this view, because (among other reasons) there were other speakers at the dedication!
posted by thelonius at 10:18 AM on August 21


Well, UNC administration is calling it mob rule and promises to cooperate with a "full criminal investigation." Together with the university administration's weaksauce claim that "our hands are tied!" even after the governor basically said, "No really you can take it down" -- let's just say this is not a good look for UNC.

As for this criminal investigation, I hope the prosecution's as incompetent as the prosecution in the trials of the Durham destroyers.
posted by basalganglia at 10:18 AM on August 21 [5 favorites]


"sublimest?"

It's a perfectly cromulent word.
posted by uosuaq at 10:20 AM on August 21 [5 favorites]


there are far, far fewer Confederate battle flags on display - I think some of this is due to demographics, with the CSA having less traction with the young.
posted by doctornemo at 10:24 AM on August 21 [1 favorite]


Well, UNC administration is calling it mob rule and promises to cooperate with a "full criminal investigation."

I can help them with that. Treason is a crime. Aiding and abetting treason is a crime too, even after the fact.
posted by Etrigan at 10:34 AM on August 21 [15 favorites]


UNC administration

It's the UNC system administration saying that, I think, not UNC-CH administrators: UNC Board of Governors Chairman Harry Smith and UNC President Margaret Spellings.....said .
posted by thelonius at 10:38 AM on August 21 [3 favorites]


Can't help but share this, waiting for Oxford next

Rhodes Must Fall (#RhodesMustFall) was a movement that began on 9 March 2015, originally directed against a statue at the University of Cape Town (UCT) that commemorates Cecil Rhodes. The campaign for the statue's removal received global attention[2][3] and led to a wider movement to "decolonise" education across South Africa.[3][4] On 9 April 2015, following a UCT Council vote the previous night, the statue was removed.
posted by infini at 10:46 AM on August 21 [5 favorites]


As long as we're talking about UNC monuments and race relations, check out the Unsung Founders Memorial. Personally, I think that such a memorial was badly needed but that it is very poorly designed. It's too low to the ground and the fact that it's a functional table is remarkably tone-deaf.
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:00 AM on August 21 [7 favorites]


The Carr dedication speech

For the curious: yes, this specific asswipe is who Carrboro is named for.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 11:26 AM on August 21 [7 favorites]


What’s the opposite of “.”?

! ! ._
posted by sexyrobot at 12:19 PM on August 21 [30 favorites]


Pulling Down the Statute of George III (etching a romantic view of the event), with a bonus that it was made into 40,000 musket balls.
posted by GenderNullPointerException at 12:24 PM on August 21 [1 favorite]


Personally, I think that such a memorial was badly needed but that it is very poorly designed. It's too low to the ground and the fact that it's a functional table is remarkably tone-deaf.

Super-agree. Every time I walked by, and saw Silent Sam looming large in the foreground, it felt like a slap in the face.
posted by witchen at 12:57 PM on August 21 [3 favorites]


every confederate memorial in the country should be repurposed into public toilets

Nah, we need to keep a few around so that we have somewhere to put the ten times larger statues of Nat Turner and WT Sherman who are peeing on the original statue while high-fiving each other.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 1:10 PM on August 21 [9 favorites]


there are far, far fewer Confederate battle flags on display

They've come to Kansas, despite our being the last state admitted to the Union, a free state, before the Civil War began. Assholes gonna ass.
posted by bryon at 1:14 PM on August 21 [4 favorites]


GDTBATH, indeed. The way the administration handles this moving forward will certainly determine whether or not I ever decide to donate funds to my alma mater. I know that a large reason that they kept the statue up was because of wealthy white supremacist donors making lots of noise about taking their money away if they removed the statue. *That* is what they meant by "our hands are tied!" They meant "We will lose the support of wealthy white supremacists if we take it down ourselves."
posted by sockermom at 1:26 PM on August 21 [5 favorites]


bryon, let’s just hope the Confederate sympathizers in Kansas aren’t as bad this time. We don’t need Bleeding Kansas 2: Electric Boogaloo.

Me, I wonder when I see Confederate flags in West Virginia. Do those people know how West Virginia came to be?
posted by Anne Neville at 1:35 PM on August 21 [6 favorites]


GDTBATH, indeed. The way the administration handles this moving forward will certainly determine whether or not I ever decide to donate funds to my alma mater. I know that a large reason that they kept the statue up was because of wealthy white supremacist donors making lots of noise about taking their money away if they removed the statue. *That* is what they meant by "our hands are tied!" They meant "We will lose the support of wealthy white supremacists if we take it down ourselves."

Since 2015, their hands were also tied by the state law preventing the removal of historical monuments - not that they didn't have AMPLE opportunity to remove it prior to 2015. And you're right that "donor relations" was definitely the reason they never took action before then.

I definitely agree that what happens after this will make all the difference. Personally I will be really surprised if they decide to put it back where it was, but I will also be surprised if they destroy it. My bet is they'll stick it in a case somewhere indoors with a plaque explaining its history, including the fact that it was torn down by student protesters. I'd be OK with that outcome.
posted by showbiz_liz at 2:00 PM on August 21


For the curious: yes, this specific asswipe is who Carrboro is named for

Interesting man, Julian Carr. Seems to have mellowed somewhat with age - I expect the Methodism kicked in - with some unexpected results.

He was a backer of the Equal Suffrage League of North Carolina, as noted by Elizabeth Stanton Cady and Susan B. Anthony.

He was a mentor to Charles Soong, gaining him entrance as the first foreign student to Trinity College (now Duke), and kept up an avuncular interest in him thereafter, even visited him in Shanghai later in life. (The Soong family is a saga in its own right, worth reading about - enough to say that without the Carr connection, 20th century Chinese history could have been a very different affair.)

He acted as treasurer for North Carolina Central University back in 1910, when it was known as North Carolina College for Negroes under Dr Jame E Shephard. He helped John Merrick of the North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company get his start in Durham's Black Wall Street. W.E.B. Dubois speaks "active friendship" of Carr and James Duke for their work with and for Durham's African American community.

There's no forswearing much of his history, of course, and you can read irony or bad will into the record if you like. But in his actions, he's a decidedly very mixed bag, and wide ranging philanthropy has to be considered part of the mix.
posted by BWA at 2:57 PM on August 21 [4 favorites]


Oh BTW, just noticed this comment: They could put up a statue honoring David Richmond, Franklin McCain, Ezell Blair Jr. (Jibreel Khazan), and Joe McNeil, the "Greensboro Four" who staged a sit-in in at the Greensboro Woolworth's on February 1, 1960.

There is a great statue of them at NC A&T in Greensboro, where they were students at the time of the protests. I think it would be appropriate for any Silent Sam replacement statue to be of a UNC student/students (which Silent Sam technically also is). I don't have any specific suggestions for who it should be, though.
posted by showbiz_liz at 3:11 PM on August 21 [2 favorites]


Holy shit, that dedication speech. In case anyone had the slightest doubt what the statue stood for:
The present generation, I am persuaded, scarcely takes note of what the Confederate soldier meant to the welfare of the Anglo Saxon race during the four years immediately succeeding the war, when the facts are, that their courage and steadfastness saved the very life of the Anglo Saxon race in the South – When “the bottom rail was on top” all over the Southern states, and to-day, as a consequence the purest strain of the Anglo Saxon is to be found in the 13 Southern States – Praise God.

I trust I may be pardoned for one allusion, howbeit it is rather personal. One hundred yards from where we stand, less than ninety 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, and then rushed for protection to these University buildings where was stationed a garrison of 100 Federal soldiers. I performed the pleasing duty in the immediate presence of the entire garrison, and for thirty nights afterwards slept with a double-barrel shot gun under my head.
posted by edheil at 3:17 PM on August 21 [8 favorites]


He was a backer of the Equal Suffrage League of North Carolina, as noted by Elizabeth Stanton Cady and Susan B. Anthony.

I hate to be the one to break this to you, but women's suffrage and white supremacy are inextricably linked. And Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, along with many other suffragettes, were also white supremacists.
posted by sockermom at 4:31 PM on August 21 [11 favorites]


I think it would be appropriate for any Silent Sam replacement statue to be of a UNC student/students (which Silent Sam technically also is). I don't have any specific suggestions for who it should be, though.

I do!

These guys did some important work. And McKissick’s son is still serving as a Democrat in the NCGA, which can’t be much of a picnic these days.
posted by witchen at 7:53 PM on August 21 [1 favorite]


In high school in the 80s I had an history teacher than exclusively referred to it as either the "War of Northern Aggression" or the "War Between the States," rather than the Civil War. Generally a good teacher otherwise, but truly a caricature of the old guard Southerner. At least thanks to her example though, I have since referred to it myself as the "War of Southern Treason." "Slaver's Rebellion" I've run across recently and it now gets tossed in there occasionally as well.

I'm fond of "Treason in Defense of Slavery"
posted by vibratory manner of working at 9:28 PM on August 21 [7 favorites]


my ol' hometown buddy Kirk Ross on Sam back in 2015. I have been egging him on to write another column, but that N&O "Tar" "Heels" thing above would seem to fit the observational bill.

Kirk and I grew up, not together but about five years apart, in Bloomington, IN, and my dad relocated to CH and UNC a year or two after Kirk did. I wish Pop had come home to the PNW but fuxake I have been visiting CH twice a year for thirty years now, and buying Kirk a drink pretty much that whole time. Tar Heels!
posted by mwhybark at 9:33 PM on August 21 [1 favorite]



For the curious: yes, this specific asswipe is who Carrboro is named for


And currently in Carrboro.
posted by thivaia at 6:06 AM on August 22 [1 favorite]


The "new" silent sam.

Yes, that is an actual fucking human being in a confederate uniform with a flag. exercising what i suppose is their fucking first amendment rights to display for all what a gigantic loser they are.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 6:51 AM on August 22 [3 favorites]


If anyone sees information about a legal defense funds for the protestors, please share it here!
posted by Sweetie Darling at 7:09 AM on August 22 [2 favorites]


(I still hold out hope that Spellings and Folt are going to let the investigation go through the motions but ultimately be unable to identify the responsible parties, and are just doing this to pacify the BOG. I can't imagine Folt in particular didn't do a dance of joy that the kids took care of this campus blight for her. )
posted by Sweetie Darling at 7:19 AM on August 22 [2 favorites]


Seems like folks are waiting for charges and things to become clearer before collecting defense funds.

And in the weirdest update i could possibly imagine, the person standing in the confederate uniform appears to be a black man. Lecturing about how the civil war was not about slavery - students appear to be gathering and engaging with him.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 7:26 AM on August 22


Someone earlier posted a Twitter thread which pointed out that nobody was arrested when the statue came down. Police didn't interfere with the screen that was set up to block the statue (and therefore the prep work for toppling it), and they didn't try to stop the stomping/dirt-kicking afterward. The thread went on to point out that the toppling was a very convenient 'out' for UNC, which was faced with unrelenting pressure from donors both to remove and to maintain Silent Sam.

I don't know if those present campus police, town police, or both, but it's sort of an academic question (lol) because Chapel Hill is very much a college town. Whoever was there, it would appear that they were not instructed to either do much to prevent this from happening or to make arrests in the immediate aftermath.

Obviously this is all speculation, but I'm not convinced that UNC or the Town of Chapel Hill have any interest in 'solving' this 'crime.'
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:37 AM on August 22 [4 favorites]



And in the weirdest update i could possibly imagine, the person standing in the confederate uniform appears to be a black man. Lecturing about how the civil war was not about slavery - students appear to be gathering and engaging with him.


I haven't been to campus yet today, but I'd be willing to bet it's this guy.
posted by thivaia at 7:42 AM on August 22 [2 favorites]


Just found this very thorough article about the police response and developing investigation. It points out how differently this was handled compared to a Silent Sam protest last year, where Sam was surrounded by police barricades.
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:43 AM on August 22 [2 favorites]


thivaia - that was also the first thought of a friend on campus as well, i wasnt super into giving him any publicity especially since its pure speculation that it is even him . . . also as someone who hasnt ever lived in the south the idea of black confederacy buffs is pretty out there.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 7:44 AM on August 22 [1 favorite]


Ah man I haven't even seen the empty pedestal yet
posted by thelonius at 7:49 AM on August 22


Much like with female MRAs and log cabin Republicans, saying "I'm not like the rest of my people" can earn you a lot of praise and attention.
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:50 AM on August 22 [7 favorites]


Someone should get up in Yosemite Sam cosplay and compete for attention
posted by thelonius at 7:55 AM on August 22 [8 favorites]


They should replace their monument with one to the Unionists who stood against the treasonous Confederacy in the Western North Carolina Mountains. (and Easter Tennesee). Too few remember the story of the brave men and women who stood in the belly of the Confederate beast said "I cannot abide this" and took up arms.
posted by Megafly at 11:27 AM on August 22 [17 favorites]


I hate to be the one to break this to you,

Why? Please don't be. I'm all about the gathering and spreading of knowledge wherever it comes from, wherever it may lead. And truth be told, I had not heard this one, so I'm happy to see it put forward.

The first article you link to covers the resurgence of the klan in the 1920s; both S.B.A and E.S.C. had been dead for over fifteen years. Regardless, given that both women had been Massachusetts and New York abolitionists, they would not have been klan material.

The second link of quotes without context is interesting, but it forces one to dig. Apparently there's a lot of misinformation on the subject, and stray quotes can be misleading.

Prof. Anne Dexter Gordan, editor of the Selected Papers of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, states flatly "The charge that Susan B. Anthony did not want black women to vote is simply wrong." (Prof. Gordon urges people to consider context when examining history.)

So where does the notion come from? It arose from the women's attitudes towards the Fifteenth Amendment ("The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude"). S.B.A. thought it did not go far enough. Not a gradualist, she wanted equal rights for black men and women white and black together or not at all. You can argue the sense of this militant attitude, and she and Frederick Douglass (the only African American to attend Seneca falls, by the way, and welcomed when he came) did - but it's clearly more inclusive than not.

Were the women 21st century woke? No. A different age, different contexts. That said, however, they were a lot more forward thinking than others at the time, and not the pure hypocrites that some might suggesting. History is a sea of gray. People are a mix of sense and insensibility.
posted by BWA at 1:38 PM on August 22 [17 favorites]


Thank you, BWA.

That’s pretty much exactly what I would have said, except far better and with more references.

I will add one point, though— the Fourteenth Amendment, which helped lay the foundation for universal male suffrage, is the first time the word “male” appeared in the Constitution. This was deliberate, and the desire to restrict the vote to men, arguably, weakened both the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments.

Women’s suffrage may have been about white supremacy, but that’s in part because, after the Civil War, the successful arguments put forth for African American suffrage (which were not the arguments for universal suffrage made by Stanton and Anthony prior to the passage of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments) was framed as an affirmation of patriarchy. As usual, an intersectional alliance was split when some of the populace got what it wanted at the expense of everyone else.
posted by steady-state strawberry at 4:13 PM on August 22 [4 favorites]


UNC's student government put out a hell of a statement (bolding is mine):

Dear Carolina Community,

Last night, a group of students and community organizers did what few were prepared to do: they corrected a moral and historical wrong that needed to be righted if we were ever to move forward as a University. Last night, they tore down Silent Sam. They were right to do so.

Over a century ago, Silent Sam was erected on the basis of bigotry and white supremacy, and it has perpetuated hate and violence ever since. For too long, we have avoided reconciling our University's past transgressions against black and brown individuals. Time and time again, it has been the courageous leadership of our peers of color that has shaken this University from its complacency and guided us all toward our better lights. Through their organizing and protests, long days of advocacy and late night meetings, these leaders have dedicated themselves to the daily work of change. For your courage and resilience, we thank you, and we stand with you.

Like any moment of change, these days are filled with precarity. Whether you're a seasoned student activist or just starting your first day of classes, it's okay to be frightened and it's okay to be confused. We are too. But, as Carolina students, we have an obligation to take care of each other and to act in the face of uncertainty. Together, we will push through adversity, strife, and resistance to ensure that the monument and the hatred it fostered remain toppled forever.

In the coming days, the nation will turn its eyes toward Chapel Hill. The removal of Silent Sam has placed our University at the center of a long overdue conversation about justice and reconciliation. Our actions as UNC students will determine on which side of history our campus falls. We, as student leaders, find ourselves looking to the ideals that brought us to Carolina in the first place — those of light and liberty — that every student should feel welcomed, valued, and heard. We've failed in that, we must do better, and we make that commitment to you now.

Yesterday was a great day to be a Tar Heel. By working together, tomorrow will be too.

Hark the Sound,
Undergraduate Executive Branch Officers
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:06 AM on August 24 [18 favorites]


(The part about the 'ideals of light and liberty' is from UNC's motto, Lux Libertas. 'Hark the Sound' is the name of our school song.)
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:09 AM on August 24 [3 favorites]


from my inbox today:

We are writing to let you know that the University is preparing for a possible rally tomorrow about the Confederate Monument. We understand that the rally may be on campus at McCorkle Place and in the Town of Chapel Hill, and we are working closely with town officials and law enforcement to ensure the safety of our communities, which remains our highest priority. We respect and believe in the First Amendment, the Campus Free Speech Act and the rights of peaceful protestors.

We do not know for sure what groups may attend, but we are mindful that the current atmosphere is highly charged, and protests that begin peacefully do not always remain that way. For this reason, we urge you not to attend. For those who do attend, please know that we will do all we can to protect and keep everyone safe.

Depending on the size of the rally, streets may be closed and traffic may be rerouted around campus and the town. Please follow @UNC on Twitter for updates throughout the day.

We’ve recently learned that some students and others in our community are receiving threats as a result of Monday’s events, and we want you to know that we take all threats seriously. If you ever feel your safety is threatened, including on social media, contact police by dialing 911. We also have counseling services available for students, faculty and staff. During regular business hours, students are encouraged to call Counseling and Psychological Services at 919-966-3658. After hours, students may call 919-966-2281 for immediate assistance. Faculty and staff may contact our Employee Assistance Program 24 hours a day at 877-314-5841.

This message is sponsored by: University Communications
posted by thelonius at 12:35 PM on August 24 [1 favorite]


And currently in Carrboro.
Gist said that, because it is nearly impossible to change the name of a town, Carrboro must find another way to acknowledge Carr’s past.
Yeah, that's some bullshit right there, especially for Carrboro. From two paragraphs earlier in the same article:
Carr purchased the Alberta Cotton Mill, now Carr Mill Mall, in 1909, and extended electricity to the area. Carrboro was then named in his honor.
And according to Wikipedia:
Carrboro was originally known as West End...Settlement in West End increased after 1898 when Thomas F. Lloyd of Chapel Hill built a steam-powered grist mill near the depot. This would become the Alberta Cotton Mill, and in 1900 the town briefly called itself Lloydville in his honor
...
In 1911, West End was incorporated and named Venable in honor of chemistry professor and University of North Carolina president Francis Preston Venable, but only two years later was renamed Carrboro, after Carr provided electric power for the community and expanded the mill.
The town had three names before Carrboro, so changing it again should be OK.
posted by kirkaracha at 1:41 PM on August 24 [4 favorites]


3 People Charged With Toppling Confederate ‘Silent Sam’ Monument At UNC
Three people have been charged in connection with Monday’s toppling of “Silent Sam,” a Confederate monument on a University of North Carolina campus, authorities told local news outlets Friday.

The three individuals each face misdemeanor charges for rioting and defacing a public monument filed by the UNC-Chapel Hill Police Department. Their identities have not yet been made public, but police said they are not associated with the university.
posted by kirkaracha at 1:50 PM on August 24


I think it would be appropriate for any Silent Sam replacement statue to be of a UNC student/students (which Silent Sam technically also is). I don't have any specific suggestions for who it should be, though.

Here’s The Perfect Candidate To Replace North Carolina’s Racist Silent Sam Statue
North Carolinians will have their own preferences but I propose a celebration of a true Tar Heel who transformed America for good. Pauli Murray’s ancestors built the University of North Carolina ― some with their hands, others with their money. Her great-great grandfather Strudwick Smith joined the Board of Trustees in 1821. When Pauli’s Grand Aunt Mary Ruffin Smith died in 1885 she left 1,400 acres south of Morgan Creek to the university which they sold a few years later. The proceeds brought electricity, heat and plumbing to campus.

Pauli Murray broke through every barrier she faced. Her senior thesis in law school provided the basis for Thurgood Marshall’s argument in in Brown v. Board of Education. She founded the National Organization of Women. Her concept of Jane Crow was the foundation of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Supreme Court victory in Reed v. Reed, which gave a woman’s right to equal protection. In 1977 she became the first black woman to be ordained an Episcopal Priest. She celebrated her first Eucharist at The Chapel of the Cross, a stones throw from Silent Sam, where her enslaved grandmother had been baptized 123 years before. Despite all of this she was rejected from graduate school at Carolina because her skin was too dark.

Pauli Murray lived as a gender non-conformist ― blurring lines and pushing boundaries in her dress, look and presentation. Today she is embraced as a transgender icon, literally a Saint. In 2012 she was raised to the pantheon of ‘Holy Women, Holy Men,’ by the Episcopal Church.

Her family brought bathrooms to Carolina.

Now that is a Tar Heel to be proud of, and celebrate.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:00 PM on August 24 [14 favorites]




Kirkaracha, it's probably quite a bit easier to change the name of a village a decade-and-some-change old where there are only a handful of residents and zero established infrastructure than after a century+ in a town with thousands of residents, hundreds of businesses, and a firmly entrenched infrastructure.
posted by greta simone at 2:32 PM on August 24


eustacescrubb, I'm a UNC-CH alumnus, and many fellow alums on my Facebook feed wished fervently that someone had thought to bring acetylene torches, plasma cutters, or thermite to Franklin Street that night.

If Thom Goolsby gets his way and the statue is replaced within 90 days, I expect that next time the one ropey boi from the recent "who would win" meme will be supported by more than a few burny bois.
posted by infinitewindow at 2:44 PM on August 24 [2 favorites]


it's probably quite a bit easier to change the name of a village a decade-and-some-change old where there are only a handful of residents and zero established infrastructure than after a century+ in a town with thousands of residents, hundreds of businesses, and a firmly entrenched infrastructure.

Probably easiler, but age didn't stop SherburneKillington
posted by vibratory manner of working at 2:51 PM on August 24


eustacescrubb, I'm a UNC-CH alumnus, and many fellow alums on my Facebook feed wished fervently that someone had thought to bring acetylene torches, plasma cutters, or thermite to Franklin Street that night.

I wouldn't dare start a thermite fire on Franklin Street, people would try to jump over it and burn their damn legs off
posted by showbiz_liz at 2:53 PM on August 24 [3 favorites]


Kirkaracha, it's probably quite a bit easier to change the name of a village a decade-and-some-change old where there are only a handful of residents and zero established infrastructure than after a century+ in a town with thousands of residents, hundreds of businesses, and a firmly entrenched infrastructure.

Bombay to Mumbai
Madras to Chennai
Bangalore to Bengaluru
Calcutta to Kolkata

centuries and populations and histories are a mere detail when you're determined to overthrow the yoke of the white man's version of your history.
posted by infini at 12:18 AM on August 25 [7 favorites]




One of the local news sites has chosen "anti-white nationalist" as their term for the protestors against racism, which is a pretty unfortunate term.
posted by Candleman at 12:16 PM on August 25 [3 favorites]


Kirkaracha, it's probably quite a bit easier to change the name of a village a decade-and-some-change old where there are only a handful of residents and zero established infrastructure than after a century+ in a town with thousands of residents, hundreds of businesses, and a firmly entrenched infrastructure.

East Detroit ===> Eastpointe
posted by Preserver at 6:21 PM on August 25 [1 favorite]


Kirkaracha, it's probably quite a bit easier to change the name of a village a decade-and-some-change old where there are only a handful of residents and zero established infrastructure than after a century+ in a town with thousands of residents, hundreds of businesses, and a firmly entrenched infrastructure.

Yeah, it would be hard. So are a lot of things that are correct. That's what we pay legislators for, is to do things that are difficult but better than the alternative.
posted by Etrigan at 7:43 PM on August 25 [1 favorite]


Kirk's Carolina Mercury for the week.
posted by mwhybark at 7:19 PM on August 26


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