Bland was found hanged last month in a Texas jail and her death has sparked protests around the country. Many have disputed how it happened and alleged racial violence against Bland, who was 28 years old.
"I think everyone should know who Sandra Bland is, especially with all the racial tension going on and the questions about whether black lives do matter," Carrboro worker Lindsey Moore said.
But some people who see the painted words question the wisdom of defacing public property to make a social point.
"It is a place where people go, both to celebrate the achievements of the past and also to protest," retired lawyer D.G. Martin said. "About what place the monuments of a 150-year-old war that is important to a lot of people for many different reasons, and that maybe the discussion of that can be a healthy thing for us."
Lindsey Moore had mixed feelings about the vandal's choices for the spray painted display.
"It's a good thing someone's pointing it out, but I wish it wasn't in a graffiti type of way," she said.
It is not the first time the statue at UNC has been vandalized. Over the July 4th holiday someone spray-painted the words "murderer" and "black lives matter" on Silent Sam.
The statue has frequently been a source of controversy and the scene of protests over the years.
The statue of a Confederate Army soldier was erected on campus in 1913 as a memorial to the more than 300 UNC students who died in the Civil War.
Sculptor John Wilson intended the soldier to be "silent" because there is not a cartridge box on the man's belt so he cannot fire his gun - hence the "Silent Sam" name.
In December, 2014, someone put a plastic hood over the statue's head and left a length of rope at its feet.
Numerous area Confederate monuments have been targeted around the Triangle since the removal of the Confederate Flag at the South Carolina Capitol.
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