University of North Carolina Students Topple Confederate MonumentThe Silent Sam statue, located on the campus of UNC-Chapel Hill, has been a target of vandalism and protests for decades.Frustrated by the inaction of university leaders and what they described as their school’s “institutional white supremacy,” students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill stormed a controversial Confederate statue on Monday night — and toppled it with their own hands.
A number of counterprotesters, some of whom were wearing Confederate flag T-shirts, were seen arguing with student protesters. There have been no reports so far of physical altercations.
The protesters used a rope to pull the monument to the ground. Silent Sam was toppled at around 9:30 p.m. local time, student paper The Daily Tar Heel reported.
“Next up, Charlottesville,” protesters shouted as they felled the statue.
Erected in 1913 and funded by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, Silent Sam has been a target of vandalism and protests for decades.
In April, Maya Little, a UNC doctoral student, was arrested after dousing the statue with red ink and her own blood. According to The Raleigh News & Observer, Monday’s student demonstration began as a gathering to support Little, who faces criminal and honor court charges for her protest. But the off-campus event “quickly morphed into a march … to the UNC campus, where police officers stood at the monument,” the paper said.
“It’s time to build monuments to honor those who have been murdered by white supremacy,” Little told the crowd at one point during the rally. “It’s time to tear down Silent Sam. It’s time to tear down UNC’s institutional white supremacy.”
UNC issued a statement labeling the protesters’ actions “dangerous” and a form of vandalism.
The university has long rejected calls to remove or relocate Silent Sam, citing North Carolina law as a barrier to action.
The school spent $390,000 last year on security for the statue, the News & Observer reported.
Reacting to the news of Silent Sam’s dismantling, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) said in a statement that while he “understands that many people are frustrated by the pace of change” and that he shares their frustration, “violent destruction of public property has no place in our communities.”
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.