UPDATE (3:35 p.m.): Nikhil Umesh, a member of the Real Silent Sam Coalition, said the coalition does not have an official stance on the painting of the statue. Check back with The Daily Tar Heel for more updates.
Silent Sam, the controversial memorial to alumni of UNC who died fighting for the Confederacy in the Civil War, has been painted with the words "black lives matter," "KKK" and "murderer."
Silent Sam has been a target of criticism by activists, including members of The Real Silent Sam Coalition, who have called for the contextualization of the monument.
"The Real Silent Sam supports the artists who made some improvements to the monument by connecting it to the bigger picture of what this stands for," said Nikhil Umesh, a member of the coalition.
The Board of Trustees voted to contextualize McCorkle place, the location of the monument, at their May meeting.
In a statement, Rick White, a spokesman for the University, condemned the painting of the statue, but said University leaders understand the issue of race is painful for some.
"We welcome all points of view, but damaging or defacing statues is not the way to go about it," he said in the statement.
At the dedication of Silent Sam in 1913, industrialist Julian Carr, the namesake of Carrboro, gave a speech paying tribute to the men who fought for the Confederacy and the women who supported them. His speech included racially charged language.
"100 yards from where we stand, less than 90 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,” he said.
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