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UNC Chancellor Departs as Last Remnants of Confederate Statue Come Tumbling Down

Police stand guard after the Confederate statue known as Silent Sam was toppled by protesters on campus at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, on Aug. 20, 2018.
Police stand guard after the Confederate statue known as Silent Sam was toppled by protesters on campus at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, on Aug. 20, 2018.
Photo: AP

Mere hours after University of North Carolina Chancellor Carol C. Folt announced her plans to resign, the last vestiges of the campus’ controversial Confederate statue were removed by school officials and placed in a “secure location,” according to the university.

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According to CNN, the statue’s base and commemorative plaques were removed either late Monday or early Tuesday. The outgoing chancellor, who announced she would be stepping down from her post at the end of the semester, tweeted early this morning that the removal was “the right decision for our community.”

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The statue, commonly referred to as Silent Sam, sparked fierce debate for years—the monument, built at the request of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, commemorates Confederate soldiers who lost their lives. To many UNC students, particularly those of color, the 105-year-old statue served as a stark reminder of the school’s historic and ongoing ties to white supremacy.

In August, students and protesters toppled the statue, though its base, which bears a bronze relief of an angel imploring students to abandon their studies and fight for the South, remained on the campus as UNC officials debated what to do with the remains.

The UNC school systems’ board of governors rejected a $5.3 million proposal to construct a new home for Silent Sam last month, writes USA Today, though they also pledged to produce a new plan to accommodate the Confederate monument.

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In light of Folt’s decision to tear down the statue’s remnants, board chairman Harry Smith spoke on behalf of the group—and all well-intentioned Confederate apologists everywhere, it seems.

“We are incredibly disappointed at this intentional action,” Smith said in the statement (h/t Slate). “It lacks transparency and it undermines and insults the board’s goal to operate with class and dignity.”

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Dignity, here, seems to hinge almost entirely on how much one can appease racists and Confederate sympathizers while doing...absolutely nothing.

Smith vowed to work “tirelessly and collaboratively with all relevant parties” to chart the best way forward for the university.

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“We will do so with proper governance and oversight in a way that respects all constituencies and diverse views on this issue,” he said.

Staff writer, The Root.

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DISCUSSION

drinking-til-2020
Manitos, The Tiny Hands of Trump

To this fucking idiot in the grays:

By late April, students began leaving Chapel Hill at the rate of eight to ten a day to volunteer for the Confederate army. Many of those who remained borrowed muskets from villagers and began military drills as members of four student companies (Henderson 181)....Representatives of the student body petitioned the board of trustees”to have the College duties suspended until next Session” because the excitement of impending war was distracting. The students believed that their time would be better spent getting into fighting shape. The petition, which the board rejected, indicates how eagerly students sought fame and adventure by going off to war. They responded with fervent patriotism to watching the community gather to raise a new Confederate flag and witnessing gallant young men take leave of their families and go off to fight, perhaps to die. Students whose families wanted them to remain in school pleaded to be allowed to enlist....“Recruiting officers predicted that they would be able to wipe up with a silk pocket handkerchief all the blood that would be shed” (Powell, North Carolina through Four Centuries 350).

...

Though most students entered the Confederate army, a few may have joined Federal regiments...Though many of them were blacks from the eastern part of the state....3 The mountains of western North Carolina became a refuge for men who hoped to evade military service for either side, for “outliers” as they were called.... At least one University student, a would-be Confederate lieutenant from Charleston, committed suicide by taking an overdose of laudanum rather than join his regiment (February 14, 1861, letter, John Wesley Halliburton Papers, SHC).

It’s not hard to find these things.