Vandalism of Segregation-Era Symbols at UNC, Clemson

July 7, 2015

Someone spray-painted "KKK," "Black Lives Matter" and "Murderer" on the base of a statue of a Confederate soldier at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The statue -- known as "Silent Sam" because the soldier is carrying a gun but no ammunition -- was commissioned in 1913 in honor of UNC alumni who died in Confederate forces. Many have called for the statue to be removed.

Rick White, associate vice chancellor of communications and public affairs, issued this statement: "We understand that the issue of race and place is both emotional and, for many, painful. Carolina is working hard to ensure we have a thoughtful, respectful and inclusive dialogue on the issue. The extensive discussions with the Carolina community this past year by the Board of Trustees and university leadership, and the work we will be doing to contextualize the history of our campus, is a big part of advancing those conversations. We welcome all points of view, but damaging or defacing statues is not the way to go about it.”

Meanwhile at Clemson University, someone wrote "Tillman Was a Violent Racist" on a wall at Tillman Hall, named for Benjamin Tillman, who was by all accounts a violent racist politician in the 19th century in South Carolina. Images of the vandalism are circulating on social media (right). Many on the campus have been pushing for the university to rename the building, but the board has rejected their requests.

In April, a statue of Jefferson Davis was vandalized at the University of Texas at Austin. Last week, someone vandalized a painting of a Tillman at Winthrop University.

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