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Bruce Vail

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Why a Protester at Chapel Hill Doused a Confederate Monument in Red Ink and Blood
By Vimal Patel MAY 01, 2018



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Maya Little
Maya Little, a doctoral student at the U. of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, on coating a Confederate monument in blood and red ink: "I didn’t do anything that was violent. I was adding context to the statue."
The scene on Monday was striking. On a picturesque day at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s lush McCorkle Place, the Confederate monument known as Silent Sam was doused in blood and red ink.


Videos posted online show Maya Little, a second-year doctoral student in history who is part of a core group of activists calling for the bronze statue’s removal, circling it and coating it in the liquids. A campus police officer detained Little, whose black shirt and white sneakers were stained with the mixture, including her own blood. Meanwhile, protesters chanted, "No cops! No Klan! Get rid of Silent Sam!"


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Maya Little a UNC history PhD student put her blood and red ink on silent Sam 5-10 minutes ago @Move_Silent_Sam @ABC11_WTVD @MicahAHughes @WNCN @WRAL


Little’s arrest was the latest chapter in the saga of the monument, which has become a public-relations nightmare for a university that has struggled to reckon with its racial history. While students have protested the monument sporadically for decades, the push to remove Silent Sam took on more urgency following a deadly white-supremacist rally last August in Charlottesville, Va. The activists have kept the pressure on administrators, who argue that their hands are tied because of a 2015 state law that protects "objects of remembrance."

Little, who was charged with defacing a public monument, a misdemeanor, and spent a couple of hours in jail, spoke with The Chronicle on Tuesday about the symbolism of her protest. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Q. Why did you take the action you did yesterday?

A. The fact that Silent Sam stands there — uncontextualized, glorified, without our blood on him — needed to change. Adding blood to the statue is adding proper context. Because that’s what the Confederacy was built on. It was built on the blood of black people. That’s what Jim Crow was built on.

Q. Speaking of contextualization, some people I spoke with for my December story on Silent Sam floated the idea of a marker or plaque to contextualize the monument. But to many activists, that’s not a long-term solution.

A. My blood and the red ink symbolizing the blood of black people is context. To me, that’s the context for Silent Sam. The university doesn’t want that context.

Q. The movement to remove Silent Sam is partly a public-relations battle. Is there a risk that a tactic like this could harm that movement?

A. I don’t see how it could. I didn’t do anything that was violent. I was adding context to the statue. I’ve been protesting since September, and this is the first time I’ve been arrested. We need to have these conversations. Otherwise, people will just ignore the statue. When people walk by it, they don’t see the context. When I walk by the statue, or when other black people walk by it, we see our blood.

Q. So you wanted others to see the statue the way you see it?

A. Yes. Otherwise, it’s whitewashed. White supremacy is built on blood. It’s built on violence. It’s built on the degradation and mutilation of black bodies.

Q. Have you heard anything from your department or the university about how yesterday’s event might affect your standing at the university?

A. I haven’t. But the workers’ union at UNC, which I’m a member of, has put out a statement about it.

[The statement, from UE Local 150, says, in part: "We cannot endorse this nonviolent act of protest by an individual union member, but we condemn any legal or academic repercussions for Maya by the university or law enforcement." The statement also condemns Silent Sam as a "white-supremacist statue."]

Vimal Patel covers graduate education. Follow him on Twitter @vimalpatel232, or write to him at [email protected]
 
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Cpl. Smith

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This is just an opinion but I personally don't understand why they want to remove the monuments. If they don't like that there rebels than get rid of all the monuments to rev war hero's. I'm sorry but we're they not rebels too. We are a country built upon revolution and rebellion. Furthermore I do not see the statues of Robert.E Lee, Stonewall, and others as statues glorifying the south but glorifying some of the greatest Generals and men of the era.
 

2nd Dragoon

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KansasFreestater said: I can accept the idea that Robert E. Lee was a decent man. Decent men fought for causes even more wicked than the Confederacy. Would the Germans erect a monument to Field Marshal Rommel, a professional soldier [and by all accounts, a decent man] murdered by Hitler? Of course not.


But!!!! The above statement is not true!!!

Germany's memorial to Field Marshal Erwin Rommel is perched on a hillside overlooking the middle-class town of Heidenheim an der Brenz where he was born 120 years ago. The words inscribed on the white limestone monument describe the legendary Second World War general as "chivalrous", "brave" and as a "victim of tyranny".

However, nearly half a century after it was proudly unveiled, a group of angry protesters carried out a night raid on the memorial and smothered it with a banner proclaiming: "No more monuments for Nazi (Rommel was not a party member) generals". Only days earlier, the memorial had been defaced with graffiti and holed with chisels.

The protests have shocked many Germans. Even Winston Churchill described Rommel as "great general" and until very recently it was taken for granted that the legendary Desert Fox had secured a permanent place in the nation's troubled history as one of the Nazis' few "decent" military commanders.

A decent man murdered by Hitler and then again by angry protesters... MHO They who defame monuments are only looking at a narrow scope of history and anything that offends them should be removed and they the protesters are neither decent, brave, chivalrous, nor are they victims of tyranny and many of them do their deeds in the dark/politics of night or disguised.

I imagine this post will not be approved. Sorry.
 
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Mike Griffith

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I can understand wanting to take down monuments to Nathan Bedford Forrest, but not any other Confederate monuments. The same folks who want to tear down every remnant of Confederate history have no problem with universities being named after the Spartans (e.g., the Michigan State Spartans) and with statues to honor Pericles and ancient Greece, even though Spartan society was viciously oppressive to women and allowed slavery, and even though Pericles owned dozens of slaves and ancient Greece was a slaveholding nation.
 
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pelham

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CivilWarTalk has long been a place for friendly conversations, and even spirited discussions about the American Civil War. Slavery, Secession, and Reconstructions are all common topics here in our forums.

Unfortunately, modern political discussions and cultural issues have been suspended on this forum.

We wish we didn't have to do that, but things get a little too out of control, members tend to quit, and friendships are broken, and our moderation staff can become stressed to the breaking point.

Today we face a new cultural controversy, and CivilWarTalk would like to provide you with a platform to express your views on the subject.

In an effort to protect our web site and our moderation team, we will be limiting this discussion to this thread only. You may not discuss any current political or cultural topic anywhere else on CivilWarTalk.

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If you would like to express your opinion on the Confederate Monument Controversy, please make your comments below in the "Reply" box. All replies will be moderated by ME and Only ME.

(Moderation Staff: Please note that I will handle these moderation duties, please continue doing the amazing jobs you do every day and thanks for your service!)

Also, a few other rules to take note of:

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And with that, and my complements, please post your thoughts below....
I believe history should be for all to see and monuments should remain were they are.
 

BlueandGrayl

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As I already stated in another non-moderated thread I don't like the idea of removing Confederate monuments this is because most Americans in one poll (even a slight majority of African-Americans at 44%) have said no to removing them they would prefer keeping them as is more importantly I'd say the backlash against Confederate memorials has created an unintended slippery slope as now other memorials to non-Confederate figures are being targeted either through removal or needless vandalization and we need to heed Lincoln's words "With malice toward none and charity for all" in other words just stay away from Confederate monuments the best you could do is just contextualizing or putting them in cemeteries and nothing else besides trying to put aside past wounds and ignore them anyway.
 
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Youngblood

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Chapel Hill, NC, another Confederate statue ripped down by a mob of “protesters”.

Just a common soldier monument, not a General.

From wiki-

Silent Sam is a statue of a Confederate soldier by sculptor John A. Wilson, erected in 1913 on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States. It was located on McCorkle Place, the university's upper quad, facing Franklin Street on the northern edge of campus.[1] On August 20, 2018, it was pulled down from its pedestal by protesters.[2]
 

Mike Griffith

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I don't want to discuss the monuments at length. I have written about them a few times in the past and don't need to repeat those comments. I did want to make a few observations on how this "controversy" has become so heated and violent.

1. The effort by state governments to take away the power of local municipalities to remove statues on city or town owned property is a major contributor to the heatedness of the fights. The monuments were often erected in urban areas in the South where blacks were excluded from government by law and violence. In the modern era, as African Americans have had the ordinary rights of citizenship restored to them, they have come to play a larger role in the places where they live. When they began to work towards removing the monuments, conservative legislators in state governments enacted laws to deprive them of this ordinary power of local government. This essentially means that citizens of a city who don't want to honor Jefferson Davis or Nathan Bedford Forrest are prevented from removing the memorials to them by the state.

2. I have watched many hearings on monuments at city councils online and read the social media postings of Confederate Heritage organizations concerning the different monument controversies. Frankly, they typically appear to anyone who is not a partisan as racist outpourings. Standing with CBFs at monuments is not a way to garner support. Nor is posing with the League of the South, the Trad Workers Party, or other white supremacist groups. Calling city council members in Charlottesville who voted to remove the monuments "Not True Virginians/Southerners" because they are from immigrant families or are non-white just reminds folks of the racism they already see embodied in the statues.

3. In the last year, the Confederate monuments have become the altars of the Alt-Right. They are now indelibly identified with political racism and white supremacy. That will be hard to change.
Using that logic, we should have ditched the Stars and Stripes long ago because it was the flag of the choice of the KKK for decades.

Just because a tiny fringe like the Alt-Right mistakenly attaches their sick agenda to Confederate monuments does not make those monuments bad, just as the American flag was not made bad when anti-segregation crowds in Boston violently assaulted blacks who happened to be walking by on the street.
 

8thFlorida

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Yes giving into the mob is not the right path. There will be no end until the anti- Americans are defeated politically and even then it may not stop the mob fueled by academia and their professors. The media and the Left wing are to blame. Many modern city councils are dominated by revisionists and Anti-Americans and we all will be subjected to their view of history. Sad but true.
I've always thought those sort of monuments are best left in battlefields, cemeteries and museums. But my real worry is where does this end? We've already seen calls for Jefferson and Washington monuments to be removed and the Lincoln memorial has been graffitied. It's a dangerous path in my opinion giving into roving mobs. If local councils and or state politicians decide legally that these things should be removed, fine. If it's done by the book well then alright. But just letting anarchist types rip them down is crazy.
 
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USS ALASKA

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Judge Throws Out Alabama Law That Protects Confederate Monuments
January 15, 20195:52 PM ET
Ian Stewart

...But on Monday an Alabama judge rejected his arguments and overturned the law.

"The state has placed a thumb on the scale for a pro-confederacy message," Jefferson County Circuit Judge Michael Graffeo wrote in his opinion, saying that by forcing the city to leave the monument alone, the state was infringing on Birmingham's right to free speech.

"A city has a right to speak for itself, to say what it wishes, and to select the views that it wants to express," Graffeo added. He said the law didn't provide adequate ways for the city to reject the monument's "message of white supremacy."


Full article with pics can be found here - https://www.npr.org/2019/01/15/685672038/judge-throws-out-alabama-law-that-protects-confederate-monuments
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USS ALASKA
 

jgoodguy

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Judge Throws Out Alabama Law That Protects Confederate Monuments
January 15, 20195:52 PM ET
Ian Stewart

...But on Monday an Alabama judge rejected his arguments and overturned the law.

"The state has placed a thumb on the scale for a pro-confederacy message," Jefferson County Circuit Judge Michael Graffeo wrote in his opinion, saying that by forcing the city to leave the monument alone, the state was infringing on Birmingham's right to free speech.

"A city has a right to speak for itself, to say what it wishes, and to select the views that it wants to express," Graffeo added. He said the law didn't provide adequate ways for the city to reject the monument's "message of white supremacy."


Full article with pics can be found here - https://www.npr.org/2019/01/15/685672038/judge-throws-out-alabama-law-that-protects-confederate-monuments
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Cheers,
USS ALASKA
Interesting, but we will have to see what happens on appeal.
 

Andersonh1

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Once again, when the people are asked their opinion, they want historic monuments kept, not removed.

https://bigleaguepolitics.com/poll-texas-voters-support-protecting-historical-monuments-despite-removal-of-confederate-plaque/

Despite the fact that Republican leaders in the state rolled over to the political left and voted to remove the Children of the Confederacy plaque from the Texas State House, polling shows that Texan voters overwhelmingly support historical monuments in the state.

Texans back monument protection by 64-26, with support from 60% of Hispanics and 35% of African-Americans,” said a memo by the Courageous Conservatives PAC

According to the poll, 11 percent of black voters and 14 percent of Hispanic voters were undecided. A full two-thirds of Spanish-speaking Texan voters support preserving the monuments.
I have a list somewhere, without about twenty different polls, and the result is always the same: between 60 and 80 percent of the people surveyed want monuments left where they are, either as they are or with context sometimes. It is my firm belief that it's a very loud, vocal minority who are able to get these monuments removed, or in the case of Durham and UNC, just go act like vandals and pull them down themselves.

My conclusion is that the politicians who have these removed are very much out of touch with their constituents.
 
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