CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Dozens gathered Tuesday night near UNC-Chapel Hill to celebrate the removal of what was left of the Silent Sam Confederate Monument.
Students, alumni, and others gathered at the Peace and Justice Plaza which is right across from UNC’s campus and from where Silent Sam once stood.
The main message from the rally included celebrating, but recognizing more work still needs to be done. The student-run group, ‘DEFEND UNC’ organized the rally. The rally followed after heavy equipment was used early Tuesday morning to remove the monument base and plaques. It was all that remained of Silent Sam.
Outgoing UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor, Carol Folt called for the removal, blaming credible security threats.
Monument opponents said they're happy to see it go.
“That stature has symbolized racist terror and white supremacy particularly to our students of color it should have been gone long ago.”
But those in support of Silent Sam said Folt’s decision goes against state law and are upset to see it come to the statue’s removal.
"I have a sign here that says, “What's next? Are you gonna take more names off of Morehead Planetarium cause he had slaves? Are you gonna take off the dorm name because he was against black people?”’
A board of governors committee has until March 15, to decide Silent Sam's fate.
The Sons of Confederate Veterans released a statement saying it's, “Disgusted by the extent to which Chancellor Folt and the University of North Carolina will go to break our state’s laws and ignore the will of the people. Yet again, Chancellor Folt has violated the confidence of the people of North Carolina by ordering the removal of what remains of Silent Sam, UNC’s Confederate Monument.”
Last month, the school's board of governors rejected a plan to put the Silent Sam statue in another building on campus, citing public safety concerns. The plan would've cost more than $5 million.