Silent Sam Under Fire Again

Postcard of dedication of Silent Sam
Unveiling of Confederate Monument, June 2, 1913
The monument to the Confederate dead on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus, commonly known as Silent Sam, was the site of protest yesterday. Leaders of the Real Silent Sam movement seek to draw attention to the monuments and buildings on campus that honor people and ideals that they consider non-representative of today’s students and their views.

Want some background before you form an opinion? Our collections include speeches from the dedication and newspaper coverage of Silent Sam over the years–both the praise and the criticism.

Bettie Jackson London spoke on behalf of the United Daughters of the Confederacy.

Industrialist Julian Carr, a UNC trustee and Confederate veteran, also delivered a speech. You can read the first few pages by going here, selecting item 93 and then clicking next within the blue band at the right of your screen until you reach item 100. An additional 12 pages are here. Select item 101 and click next within the blue band on the right. I know. We don’t make it easy. But the speech is worth the effort.

Settlers vs. Cherokees not for faint-hearted

“The [white settlers’] 1776 retaliatory expedition against the Cherokees illustrates the increasingly racial tone of border warfare….

“At Tomasee [in what is now northeast Georgia], where General Williamson’s troops surrounded a group of Cherokee warriors, some engaged in hand-to-hand combat. During one intense fight, a North Carolina bruiser… placed his long thumbnails on either side of the Cherokee’s eye, about to gouge it from the socket. According to a witness, the Cherokee man cried ‘Canaly!’ which he took to mean ‘Enough!’ (but which may actually have been ‘Ga-na-li!’ meaning ‘Beast!); ‘Damn you,’ says the white man, ‘you can never have enough while you are alive.’

“He threw the Cherokee down, scalped him alive, then beat him to death with the butt of a rifle.”

— From “Slavery in Indian Country: The Changing Face of Captivity in Early America” by Christina Snyder (2010)