The same alumni who marched on Franklin Street during the Civil Rights Movement — the UNC Black Pioneers — are now partnering with a new generation of current students in pursuit of the same goal.
“We believe we should be able to have pride in our University just as anyone can have pride in their alma mater,” 1967 graduate Walter Jackson said.
A group of UNC graduates plans to submit an amicus brief to the Orange County court system by Wednesday in support of the civil rights group attempting to reverse the Silent Sam settlement.
The brief— a formal letter advocating for the civil rights group — will be filed in anticipation of the appeal hearing on Feb 12. Judge Allen Baddour ruled in December that the civil rights group’s motion lacked standing but agreed to hold an appeal hearing.
The signatories, members of the UNC Black Pioneers and a wider group of alumni, aim to express their support for the student and faculty partnered with the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.
The Committee has called to block the Board of Governors’ $2.5 million trust deal with the Sons of Confederate Veterans. Some of those involved would like to see the money returned to the University in full, and the monument destroyed as a public safety hazard according to North Carolina Monuments Law.
Mel Watt, former director of The Federal Housing Finance Agency under President Obama and a 1967 UNC graduate, said he hopes that having support from over 70 distinguished alumni will help to give weight to the interveners' case.
“I’m offended by the notion that we would be colluding with a white supremacist organization, and that we would pay them money and that it would stand,” Watt said.
He said he feels hopeful Baddour will rule against the SCV.