Posted on December 4, 2018

At Protest, UNC’s ‘Silent Sam’ Plan Is Not Enough

Sarah Krueger and Candace Sweat, WRAL-TV, December 4, 2018

A couple hundred people gathered on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Monday night to protest the plan by the university Board of Trustees to bring a controversial Confederate monument back to campus.

“We want UNC, we want Chancellor Folt to know what we’re going to keep holding them accountable for white supremacy,” one organizer told WRAL News.


On Monday, Chancellor Carol Folt announced a plan to build a $5.3 million “center for history and education” to house the statue on campus.

“It was very clear, public safety alone would make it impossible to return it to its base or any outdoor location on our campus,” Folt said. “We developed a plan, most important to me, that I believe could be successfully safe, that I believe could actually be based at its core on education.”

That plan brought people to the streets Monday night for a protest, in which a series of speakers, most of them African-American, blasted what they see as a continuing attitude of tolerance for racism on campus, an attitude they say is exemplified by Silent Sam.


Speakers included Maya Little, a graduate student at UNC-Chapel Hill, who smeared blood and paint on the statue last spring, an action which saw her found guilty of defacing a public monument.

One speaker called on faculty to withhold grades and students to skip finals to show their solidarity with the movement to eliminate the statue from campus entirely.

{snip} Defend UNC, the UNC Black Congress and the UNC Black Student Movement, issued a letter, saying, “They are building a safe space for white supremacy and forcing us to pay for it.”

Folt said the new building at Odum Village would allow for a fuller, more honest history of the university.

“This is so important to us that we are going to make it happen,” Folt said of funding the new building.


After about two hours of chants and marching, on campus and off, the group disbanded after what a speaker called a “community building” poem.

“It is our duty to fight for our freedom.
It is our duty to win.
We must love and protect each other.
We have nothing to lose but our chains.”