What does Charlottesville mean for Silent Sam?

Governor Cooper urges repeal of law preventing removal of Confederate statues

Governor Roy Cooper released a statement via Medium on August 15 detailing his alarm at the public display of hatred and racism during the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville. “My stomach sank to learn that a peaceful counter-protester had been killed and many others injured as the hatred morphed into violence,” Cooper wrote.

Cooper explained that monuments dedicated to the Confederacy have no place on state property, instead belonging at museums and historical sites for the purpose of studying them in context.

“Some people cling to the belief that the Civil War was fought over states’ rights. But history is not on their side. We cannot continue to glorify a war against the United States of America fought in the defense of slavery. These monuments should come down,” he continued.

UNC has its own history with protests and backlash toward the presence of Confederate memorial statue Silent Sam, which has been on campus since 1913.

After the removal of a Confederate statue in Durham on Monday by protesters and the movement to fight white supremacy escalated by the events in Charlottesville, Silent Sam’s presence on campus requires even more attention.

With Governor Cooper’s move to urge the Senate to repeal a 2015 law that protects the monuments, the possibility of a permanent removal of Silent Sam from campus gains even more traction.

UNC spokeswoman Joanne Peters told the News & Observer that surveillance cameras in McCorkle Place for campus security, but there is no denying that these cameras will record anyone who makes a move to spray paint the statue with “Black Lives Matter” again or remove it like in Durham.

Several of the protesters involved in the toppling of the Durham statue have since been arrested after the sheriff’s office viewed the footage of the scene from surveillance cameras. The McCorkle Place cameras will help police identify protesters in the same manner.

So, with a law on the books that prevents Silent Sam’s removal, will UNC agree with Governor Cooper, and call to take Silent Sam off campus?

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