The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Tuesday November 30th

Silent Sam a monument to pre-Civil War enslavement


Somehow I do not recall the denizens of the Tar Heel state complaining in the spring of 2003 that Iraq was doing violence to history when the statue of Saddam Hussein was removed and dismantled. But the demagogues among us make precisely that point when the issue is bruited about removing that monument to the defense of slavery that defaces the otherwise lovely UNC campus. I refer to the statue known as “Silent Sam” (which should be called “Pro-Slavery Sam”: it was built to commemorate the so-called Confederate States of America and their abortive secession from the U.S. in the name of enslaving Africans). Of course, nowadays we are told with a straight face that secession was about “states’ rights,” not slavery, which barely passes the giggle test.

Pro-Slavery Sam is a sentinel and warning that armed right-wing revolt — “Second Amendment solutions” — forevermore remain an option. That such a monument to violence and racism can coexist on a campus as presumably enlightened as UNC is chilling. In light of the national conversation ignited by the recent tragedy in Arizona, should the message that UNC sends to the mentally deranged be a status of an armed man in defense of a wrongheaded political cause?

Student leaders — including those that administer this worthy newspaper — should immediately engage in urgent consultations with the UNC Board of Trustees to remove the eyesore and obscene insult that is Pro-Slavery Sam.

Gerald Horne

Chapel Hill resident

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