The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Friday April 16th

Second dedication plaque on Franklin Street has been stolen

The dedication plaque for James Cates, the UNC student who was stabbed to death by a white supremacist group in the Pit in 1970.
Buy Photos The dedication plaque for James Cates, the UNC student who was stabbed to death by a white supremacist group in the Pit in 1970.

UPDATE: Activist group Take Action Chapel Hill has reported that the plaque honoring the woman Julian Carr described whipping in his dedication speech for Confederate monument Silent Sam has been stolen. 

The plaque, which was placed at the intersection of East Franklin and Henderson streets on Tuesday, read "In honor of the N*gro Wench. She ran to this University for safety and, for the color of her skin, was beaten at its gates. We fight in her name." 

On Friday, a video was posted to Confederate 901's Facebook page, entitled "Antifa lost their first monument at Chapel Hill." 

"I got a phone call tonight, guys," one of the men in the video said. "Yeah, got a phone call tonight from an individual, that says, 'You know what, them little plaques that they got, Antifa, up there that UNC-Chapel Hill put up, one of them is in patriot possession; it's in the Confederate possession right now.'" 

   

The whereabouts of the plaque are unknown. Take Action Chapel Hill has created a GoFundMe to fund the artist in making a new plaque. 




UPDATE: The plaque honoring James Cates that was placed in the Pit on Tuesday has been removed by the  University.

The University cited the facilities use policy, which states no temporary structure shall be erected or placed on lawn space beneath the drip line of trees. Temporary structures are allowed in several places across campus, including the Pit "to the extent their use is approved by the applicable University official in connection with the scheduling process." 

The University and activists from Take Action Chapel Hill disagree over the interpretation of the law and how it applies to the plaque. 

The University said the statute cited to keep the plaque from being removed only applies to plaques owned by the state. 

However, activists say Senate Bill 22 should apply because the specific section of the act does not cite the need for the monument, memorial or work of art to be state-owned, only located on public property. 

The policy states that all temporary structures must be removed promptly upon conclusion of the scheduled activity and that no temporary structures shall remain outdoors overnight. 

The second plaque on Franklin Street has not been removed as it is not on University property. 

Charlie McGee contributed to reporting.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Activists placed a dedication plaque in the Pit on Tuesday honoring James Cates, a Black student activist who was stabbed to death in the Pit in 1970.

The plaque reads: "In honor of James Cates. In 1970, this young Black activist lay bleeding to death in the Pit, stabbed by members of a white supremacist gang. James Cates’ blood is on our campus. We fight in his name.” 

The dedication plaque for James Cates, the UNC student who was stabbed to death by a white supremacist group in the Pit in 1970.


A picture of James Cates is laid at the base of the the plaque. 


A portrait of James Cates, placed at the bottom of the dedication plaque in the Pit.


Cates, who was 22 years old at the time, was stabbed on Nov. 21, 1970, by a member of a white supremacist biker gang. 

He laid in the Pit for 15 to 30 minutes before receiving assistance. He died at the hospital around 3 a.m., about an hour after he was stabbed. 

Cates' murder was left unsolved. Three members of the biker gang, called the Storm Troopers, were charged in connection with the murder. They were acquitted by an all-white Orange County jury. 

Attached to the plaque is a laminated notice citing N.C. General Statute 100-2.1 (b) as a reason that the statue cannot legally be removed. This statute has been commonly used as the law that prohibited Silent Sam's removal. 


James Cates' plaque cites N.C. General Statute 100-2.1, which is commonly used as the law prohibiting Confederate monument Silent Sam’s removal, as reason that the plaque cannot be removed.


The statute is a section of Senate Bill 22 and dictates that a monument, memorial or work of art owned by the state may not be removed, relocated or altered in any way without the approval of the North Carolina Historical Commission unless the monument poses a threat to public safety because of an unsafe or dangerous condition. 

According to the act, if a object of remembrance on public property is temporarily relocated, it must be replaced after no more than 90 days. If the object is permanently removed, it must be relocated to a site of similar prominence, honor, visibility, availability and access that are within the boundaries of the jurisdiction.

The plaque includes a QR code which leads to a website with information about James Cates. 

Another plaque has been placed on Franklin Street honoring the African-American woman who Julian Carr described whipping in his dedication of Confederate monument Silent Sam

The plaque reads, "In honor of the N*gro Wench. She ran to this University for safety and, for the color of her skin, was beaten at its gates. We fight in her name."

Similarly to the Cates plaque, a notice citing N.C. General Statute 100-2.1(b) as a reason for it not being able to be removed, is attached to the its base. 

The artist who created the plaque said in a statement said the plaque was installed as an act of transfiguration. 

"We are reclaiming the built landscape," the statement said. "It is not too late to do what those before us would not or could not; it is not too late for a moral awakening and a true reckoning with the past."

The statement said the plaques were installed without permission and called the law a monument to white supremacy. 

"James Cates and the N*gro Wench are scarred into North Carolina's history. The law, written to protect white supremacy, says these objects of remembrance, hand-crafted to challenge white supremacy, may not be removed," the statement said. "If they are, it will be clear who the State believes we should be allowed to remember."



managing.editor@dailytarheel.com

To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.



Comments

The Daily Tar Heel for April 2, 2021

Special Print Edition

Games & Horoscopes

Print Edition Games Archive