North Carolina Students Topple Racist Confederate Statue!

| Revolution Newspaper |


With the call “Everybody pull,” students and other protesters at the University of North Carolina (UNC)-Chapel Hill toppled the Confederate statue on the campus known as “Silent Sam” on Monday night, August 20. This was a righteous, courageous action to take down an ugly white supremacist symbol that should’ve been removed long ago. The statue was of a soldier in the slaveowners’ army—one of over 1,500 monuments, buildings, roads, schools, parks and military bases especially in the South but also across the U.S. honoring the military and leaders of the Confederate states that fought to defend and expand the enslavement of Black people during the Civil War. Like many other such racist monuments, this statue was erected at the height of the Jim Crow era when Black people in the South faced open segregation and lynch mob-KKK terror. 1

“It’s time to build monuments to honor those who have been murdered by white supremacy,” said student activist Maya Little at the Monday night action. “It's time to tear down Silent Sam. It’s time to tear down UNC’s institutional white supremacy.” The protest Monday night had initially been called to support Little, who was arrested this spring for throwing red ink and her own blood on “Silent Sam.” Before pulling down the statue, protesters put up an “alternative monument” that included the statement “For a world without white supremacy.”

The stand of the UNC officials has been shameful. Not only should they have had this statue removed already, now that people have taken the matter into their own hands, the school administration is threatening retaliation. The chancellor called the people’s action “unlawful and dangerous” and said that the police are investigation “vandalism” and “assessing the full extent of the damage.” Any attempt by the school officials and police to punish the students and other protesters must be denounced and opposed!

It would be a very good thing if there were many public ceremonies to remove these monuments, where the masses of people were able to speak out about the history of slavery and Jim Crow and their effects down to today—and if people move to tear down these symbols of the defenders of slavery, they should be defended. The debate and controversy over all this would serve to deeply educate people about the true history of the U.S., so that growing numbers of people—including white people—come to despise what these monuments stand for.

What does it say that this is not what is widely happening right now—and, in fact, that racist/fascist mobs emboldened by the rise of the Trump/Pence regime are openly and often violently promoting white supremacy? It shows that even the basic question of slavery being wrong, with all the implication that has for the humanity, treatment and even the right of Black people to live, is far from settled in this country, in these times. There’s an urgent need for active, broad, mass opposition to the brutal oppression of Black people that this country was built on, that continues today under the capitalist-imperialist system, and that is now being virulently whipped up and escalated by the fascist Trump/Pence regime with potentially genocidal consequences.


1. See the American Crime series article on “Monuments to the Confederacy Across the United States” [back]


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