TO THE EDITOR:
Protests Sunday over Silent Sam ignored a third side that neither argues for backward policies, nor total demolition of history. This view acknowledges that slavery, racism and the fight for states’ rights are deeply rooted in our state’s history, but realizes that the shameful pieces of our history cannot be forgotten because they motivate further progress.
Silent Sam should remain a part of the fabric of this campus because the ideas of the Confederacy are not something that can be removed from the history of this state. North Carolina should not hide or erase the racist roots of its successes, like this university, because to hide is to ignore the atrocities and to erase is to forget them. We cannot change the past, but we can use it to move forward.
Thus, the outrage of many toward Silent Sam becomes productive. However, this outrage is justified, so it should not be ignored. Move Silent Sam to the Old Chapel Hill Cemetery where he will not be forgotten, but instead laid to rest as Dennis Rogers suggested in his October 16 piece in the (Raleigh) News and Observer.
To keep Silent Sam on campus does not deny that there are many wrongs that still need to be righted in this state, in the South and in this country. Instead, it allows him to serve as a reminder of where we came from, how far we have come and how much further we must go to attain the precious goal of equality.