After Silent Sam was toppled, I was elated to see the news. Months ago, I had signed the petition to have it removed. As a UNC graduate, I understood that — despite the remarkable achievements of many Black faculty and students — Black students have not always felt completely welcome on campus and that symbols of the Confederacy contributed to the problem.
But when I read the article about the statue’s removal, I felt deeply ashamed to read the words Julian Carr had said when he dedicated the monument — and I did not want anyone to know that he was my great-great-grandfather. This episode has forced me to confront the role that my ancestors played in promoting white supremacy and racism. Although painful, this episode has been in service of greater understanding, and it holds the potential for healing and progress — not just for my family, but for the UNC community as a whole.
Thank you to Maya Little and the other students who were instrumental in having the statue removed. I was relieved to hear that Ms. Little will not be fined, although a not-guilty verdict would have been preferable. I join many others in asking Chancellor Carol Folt and the UNC Honor Court to refrain from disciplining any students who were involved in this act of civil disobedience. I also support the proposal at Duke University to rename a building that was named after Julian Carr.