A confederate statue at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was found vandalized on June 5 with the phrase “black lives matter” written in black spray paint. Also spray-painted on the Civil War memorial statue, known as Silent Sam, were the words “KKK” and “murderer.”
Police are investigating the incident, but there are currently no suspects and no arrests have been made.
Silent Sam was constructed as a memorial to the 321 alumni who died in the Civil War and students who joined the Confederate Army, according to the university’s website.
The statue of a Confederate Army soldier, which was erected in 1913, has been a source of controversy and scene of protests over the years, and debate was further sparked after the graffiti recently appeared. The campus community is now questioning whether the statue should be removed or not.
"I agree black lives do matter," student Ishmael Bishop said. "I am excited that there are students or community members who feel the same way I do, that Confederate monuments on our campus (are) offensive."
Alumnus Kevin Murach told WRAL his own opinion of the statue, which he said never paid much attention to when he was on campus.
"I certainly don't endorse people doing graffiti in any capacity because it's defacing public property, which is illegal," Murach said. "But I suppose I can appreciate that people are frustrated by a statue that's commemorating something related to the confederacy."
The same statue was the source for attack in December 2014, when reports say someone put a plastic hood over the statue’s head. The vandal also left rope at the statue’s feet, reports ABC 11.
Rick White, UNC's Associate Vice Chancellor of Communications and Public Affairs, released the following statement to ABC 11:
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.
Last week, a monument in Maplewood Cemetery in Durham honoring local Confederate soldiers also vandalized with the words "Black Lives Matter" and "Tear It Down" spray-painted on the granite marker, reported WRAL.
Photo Credit: Screenshot via WRAL