Silent Sam Facts

  1. Who erected Silent Sam: A white supremacist group named the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) in 1913.
  2. Why call them “white supremacists”: Because they did not believe non-white people should vote, attend public schools such as the University of North Carolina, or be allowed equal access to juries, housing, transportation, public services, etc. They also supported the Ku Klux Klan. You be the judge.
  3. How many North Carolinians fought in the Civil War: 133,905 for the Confederacy and 15,000 for the Union. Thousands of Confederate soldiers were conscripted by the threat of arrest or execution, but about 23,000 deserted anyway.
  4. How many slaves lived in North Carolina: 331,059 in 1860—roughly 33% of all North Carolinians.
  5. What percentage of North Carolina families owned slaves: 28%.
  6. Isn’t Silent Sam just a monument to soldiers: No. Silent Sam was erected by the UDC in 1913 to celebrate white supremacy during Jim Crow. It was not erected immediately after the war or placed in a cemetery. The speaker at the dedication ceremony complimented racial terrorist groups who operated after the war to ensure “the purest strain of the Anglo Saxon” during “during the four years immediately succeeding the war.”[1] No Confederate soldier needs Silent Sam to be remembered or honored.
  7. What was Jim Crow: The Southern system of racial apartheid that lasted for nearly 100 years before the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s. Silent Sam is a Jim Crow-era monument erected during a time when people of color could not attend UNC. UNC has only admitted black undergraduate students for 27% of its history. Silent Sam is reminiscent of a bygone era and deeply offensive to many people of color.
  8. Why now: It should have come down when Jim Crow ended. The “Whites Only” and “No Colored Allowed” signs were taken down without people claiming they were “erasing history.” Silent Sam is an outdated relic of an old way of life. Perhaps the better question is: Why do some people think they still need it? Let’s move on![2]
  9. What prevents the university from taking it down: A 2015 bill proposed by an N.C. State grad that was signed into law 36 days after 9 black people were killed in Charleston, SC. The murderer was a domestic white supremacist terrorist who loved Confederate monuments and flags (just google his image) and wanted to start a race war. This law was passed in response to some people calling for their removal.
  10. Are all people who support Silent Sam racists: No! But virtually all racists do. Consider the facts and take a moral stand.

[1] http://hgreen.people.ua.edu/transcription-carr-speech.html. For more on historians’ view of this matter: https://www.historians.org/news-and-advocacy/everything-has-a-history/historians-on-the-confederate-monument-debate.

[2] https://www.vox.com/the-big-idea/2017/8/18/16165160/confederate-monuments-history-charlottesville-white-supremacy.