The controversial Confederate monument known as Silent Sam, which stood on the grounds of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, was torn off its plinth by some 250 determined protestors last night. “Silent Sam is down,” tweeted The Daily Tarheel, the campus news outlet.
Classes begin today.
“I feel liberated — like I’m a part of something big. It’s literally my fourth day here,” first-year student Natalia Walker told The Daily Tarheel. “This is the biggest thing I’ve ever been a part of in my life just activist wise. All of these people coming together for this one sole purpose and actually getting it done was the best part.”
Carol L. Folt, the university chancellor, said in a statement today that the statue “has been divisive for years, and its presence has been a source of frustration for many people not only on our campus but throughout the community,” but noted that the actions of last night were “unlawful and dangerous.”
The dramatic toppling comes nearly a year after protestors pulled down a Confederate statue that stood in front of the Durham County Courthouse, in nearby Durham, North Carolina. That monument, dedicated in 1924 to “the boys who wore the gray”, was part of a wave of monuments erected with a single purpose: To enshrine white supremacy.
“The monuments that went up in the ’teens and 20s had a far more overtly political purpose,” James Leloudis, a professor of history at UNC-Chapel Hill, told The News and Observer last year.“If you look at the dedication addresses, speaker after speaker is very clear that those monuments are aimed at the rising generation of young North Carolinians who were coming of age, and who were born after the white supremacy struggles at the end of the 19th century. The funders and backers of these monuments are very explicit that they are requiring a political education and a legitimacy for the Jim Crow era and the right of white men to rule.”
The dedication address for the Silent Sam monument was delivered on June 2, 1913 by Julian Shakespeare Carr, a wealthy manufacturer and virulent racist from Durham. It was an eloquent tribute to white supremacy.
“The present generation … scarcely takes note of what the Confederate soldier meant to the welfare of the Anglo Saxon race during the four years immediately succeeding the war, when the facts are, that their courage and steadfastness saved the very life of the Anglo Saxon race in the South,” he began.
Young Carr had been but a private when the Confederate Army was defeated, but remembered the institution it fought for proudly:
I trust I may be pardoned for one allusion, howbeit it is rather personal. One hundred yards from where we stand, less than ninety 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, and then rushed for protection to these University buildings where was stationed a garrison of 100 Federal soldiers. I performed the pleasing duty in the immediate presence of the entire garrison, and for thirty nights afterwards slept with a double-barrel shot gun under my head.
Imagine saying that in a public square and expecting a warm response.
Then finally, this.
With pardonable pride I look upon the grand record of my Alma Mater, near whose confines I first beheld the light; in whose classic halls three of my sons have graduated and a fourth is now a student, and where my brother and three of his sons also matriculated. The glorious record of this seat of learning is embalmed in affections of our family.
The University now has to wrestle with the delicate issue of what to do with the fallen Sam and how to address the vandalism committed by protestors, made necessary in part by their own inaction. (The charges against the protestors in the Durham incident were dropped this past February, by the way.)
I wish them well in their deliberations. The reckoning around these latter-day monuments is an important part of the work that needs to happen now, in this instance, an opportunity provided by an angry throng. With a proper understanding of history and race, we can collectively come to terms with the tangled web of hate and oppression that have been long embalmed in many a treasured institution and public square.
Back in the day, Carr and his speech-making ilk failed to offer messages of equality and reconciliation. It’s not too late for the rest of us.
|Barack Obama has dropped his summer reading list|
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|Abdelhak Nouri, Amsterdam’s favorite footballer, is out of a coma|
|After Abdelhak Nouri, the beloved midfielder for the Ajax football team in the Netherlands, collapsed of an apparent heart attack during a pre-season game last year, doctors declared the related brain damage to be permanent. But yesterday, Nouri, known as “Appie,” emerged from a coma and was able to recognize and communicate with family members. It is a global answered prayer. Nouri signed with Ajax at age seven and grew up in the spotlight, becoming universally adored for his tricky footwork and infectious charm. His family, devout Muslims, have been buoyed by the love of their community, who have turned their home into a shrine. Click through for the entire extraordinary story and a photo of Appie’s grieving father that will fill your heart.|
The Woke Leader
|How to cover immigration|
|This resource, from Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy is designed for journalists, but it works for anyone who wants to publish anything from a memo to public remarks on the subject of immigration. The number one issue with immigration reporting is a lack of context. Is the event you are highlighting a single event or part of a broader history? “It’s really tempting, I think, at this moment for journalists to say the Trump administration is doing x, y, z. I think it’s really important for journalists to ask the question, ‘When did this program start?’ Or, ‘When did this issue start?’” says PRI’s Angilee Shah. Click through for more and a public Google document with over 70 immigration data sources.|
|Actor Josie Totah: “I’m ready to be free”|
|This moving essay from Josie Totah explores the already fraught territory of identity and sexual awakening experienced by teens, particularly one who had already been accepted as an openly gay boy in the entertainment industry. “I almost felt like I owed it to everybody to be that gay boy,” she says. “But that has never been the way I think of myself.” She is, in fact, a transgender girl. Declaring her true identity in a world that included Disney fandom, though terrifying, was necessary. “I realized over the past few years that hiding my true self is not healthy,” she says. Totah heads to college this week, fully herself. She plans to head to the theater department. “And I can only imagine how much more fun it’s going to be to play someone who shares my identity, rather than having to contort myself to play a boy.”|
|Cleveland Cavaliers star Kevin Love wants to destigmatize mental health issues|
|He’s not alone. Other athletes have come forward with mental health issues and Houston Rockets assistant coach John Lucas has told ESPN that he estimates some 40 percent of NBA players are seeking (or need) mental health treatment. But while turning coaches into medication consultants is a growing problem, confidentiality is a bigger concern. While the player’s union insists that medical records must remain private, some team owners want to review them to better assess the state of “their investments.”|