THE ISSUE: The upcoming sesquicentennial of the Civil War has sparked discussion around campus and the state about the proper treatment of North Carolina’s Confederate past. Is it a valid part of the state’s heritage, or is it something to be shamed or forgotten? What should happen to Silent Sam? Today, members of the editorial board weigh in on the war’s proper place in the discourse.
With the sesquicentennial of the North Carolina’s secession from the United States rapidly approaching, debate has erupted among the student body regarding the presence of Civil War memorials on campus.
Considering the deep and profound involvement that our state and our University had with the War Between the States, the presence of monuments, such as Silent Sam, are wholly justified. Yet many students say the removal of Silent Sam is more desirable than a comprehensive acknowledgement of our University’s history.
Any assertions which attempt to indict our campus’ Civil War monuments as a direct tribute to institutional slavery are utterly false. Instead, the statue of Silent Sam itself stands as a testament to the UNC students who died fighting in the war and the sons and daughters who suffered as a result.
As a corollary, disregard for the connection that our state and University shared with the Civil War would in fact be irresponsible. Our state and University are so deeply tied to this conflict that it cannot be ignored.