1. The Silent Sam saga continues. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill reached an agreement to give its toppled statue of an anonymous Confederate soldier (there’s a similar statue in down town Alexandria, Virginia, about a ten minutes drive from where I type this) to the North Carolina Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, along with a $2.5 million trust to display it somewhere other than on a campus.
But professors, alumni and students accused the university’s board of governors of entering into a corrupt deal with a “white nationalist” group, so the judge who originally approved the agreement voided it, finding that Sons of Confederate Veterans lacked the legal standing to enter into the pact.
For the record, I don’t understand what kind of “standing” any group needs to come to a contractual arrangement. I don’t understand why the school can’t give the thing to a museum without having to pay 2.5 million bucks for the privilege. I don’t understand how the University allowed a bunch of vandals—the statue was illegally pushed over by student protesters who were never punished—to trigger this problem in the first place.
I don’t understand why a work of art showing a realistic representation of actual historical figures, for there really was a Confederacy, there really were soldiers who fought and died for it in the belief that it was a patriotic duty, and there really is a value to the culture, and especially education, in remembering controversial events and times, is viewed as so dangerous that it must be hidden from view.
James L. Leloudis, a professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is supposed to be explaining things to people like me when he said, “The people who erected the monuments went out of their way to make it clear that they honored the living as well as the dead, and most particularly, those ex-Confederates who returned from war and committed themselves to the long, bloody and ultimately successful effort to re-establish white supremacy.” For example, when “Silent Sam” was dedicated, a former Confederate soldier named Julian Carr delivered a speech praising the Confederate Army for saving “the very life of the Anglo Saxon race in the South” and recalled that he had “horsewhipped” a black woman “until her skirts hung in shreds” because she had publicly insulted a white woman.
Isn’t that fascinating! How times have changed! That certainly explains how Jim Crow took over, especially once President Woodrow Wilson encouraged the effort after his election in 1912. But now “Sam” looks at a very different South! You, see, students, the reason….Sam? Sam? Continue reading