UNC's 'Silent Sam' landmark drawing attention, again

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WTVD) -- The "Silent Sam" landmark at UNC Chapel Hill is again drawing attention.

On Monday, students held a rally at the memorial to those who fought and died for the Confederacy.

Many students see the statue as a symbol of intolerance, and say it should not be on the Carolina campus.

Organizers of the rally said the statue commemorating the Confederate dead is an insult to black slaves who built the original UNC campus.

The Carolina Way is to have selective amnesia. They use you at their convenience and dispose of you when they no longer need you," said Shelby Dawkins-Law, a PhD student in the School of Education Policy, Leadership and School Improvement program.

There is an unsung founder's memorial, a short walk from "Silent Sam." It was commissioned by the UNC Class of 2002.

But Monday's protesters say it's not enough.

"You can see the statue they chose to have for the slaves, and the statue they chose to have for the Confederacy," senior June Beshea said. "They might have acknowledged it but that doesn't mean that they address what it actually was."

So, they placed a symbolic skirt on "Silent Sam's" musket, for the female slaves forced by their owners to submit to sex.

They chanted: "Silent Sam is a glorified symbol of slavery."

They want UNC officials to act on their demands for the statue's removal.

"Yeah, I do hope that they will decide to make that move, but I think it's going to take a little bit more than this." Beshea said.

"I think the removal of the statue is a complicated issue that is frankly beyond the university's ability to decide at this point. But we can certainly support the students need to be heard." UNC-CHAPEL HILL Vice President of Academic Affairs Winston Crisp said.

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