Since yesterday’s post focused on North Carolina in the Civil War, I thought I’d stick with that theme for today’s post as well. Being a student at the nation’s oldest public university has major privileges, and one of them is that the school has a lot of interesting history.
From the time war broke out in 1861, to the time it drew to a close in 1865, 40% of the University of North Carolina’s student body (1,000 men in all) left school to join in the fight. This was the largest number of students to leave a university for the war, North or South.
Due to the large number of students who fought and died in the war, the United Daughters of the Confederacy erected a statue in UNC’s upper quad (McCorkle Place) in 1913. Since the statue – known as Silent Sam – was dedicated, it has been surrounded by controversy. The statue is of a Confederate soldier standing with rifle in hand. However, he lacks a cartridge box or any ammunition (which is where the ‘silent’ of Silent Sam comes from).
Many have argued that the statue should be removed because it represents continued racism and oppression. Others argue that Silent Sam is a symbol of regional pride.
What do you think?