Monuments are erected to create messages, and these structures actively work to develop public memory. The Center for the Study of the American South, using the expertise of other units of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (including Wilson Library and the University of North Carolina Press), has curated a list of resources for learning more about monuments, their creation, and the ways their visual rhetoric has been both cultivated and contested.
Explore this guide made by Wilson Library about UNC’s Confederate Monument, Silent Sam. It has primary sources and other documents about the history and reception of the statue from the University Archives and other collections. This includes documents related to planning, fundraising, the dedication of the monument, and even the growing collections involving current discussions and protests of Silent Sam. As new documents are discovered related to Silent Sam, they are added to the Archival Resources section of this guide.
This guide from University Libraries is designed for those interested in the history and controversy of the physical landscape at UNC-Chapel Hill. This includes monuments, buildings, and spaces, including Silent Sam, the two Caldwell monument, and the Unsung Founders Memorial. This guide was created in Summer 2015 and is updated when new research is discovered.
A letter from 35 members of the UNC History Department to Chancellor Folt about letting Silent Sam remain fallen on the ground. It said: “he should be displayed as a contextualized, historical artifact within an appropriate educational space, not in a position of honor. The monument is undeniably a part of UNC’s past, but he no longer needs to be part of UNC’s future.”
“The faculty of the Department of History urges the officers of UNC and other state officials to pursue every avenue to remove the “Silent Sam” monument. For more than a century it has stood in the most conspicuous public space on our campus. Then and now, the location of the monument speaks to the intent of its creators to ensure that the heritage they commemorated would have pride of place at the front door of the state’s flagship university.”
In the News & Observer, History Professor James Leloudis wrote: “For more than a century, Silent Sam stood as a sentinel of white supremacy that lent dignity and respectability to systematic mob violence. This is the larger issue of law and order that is at stake in recent events. It has haunted our state and nation for generations, and as yet it remains unresolved.”
North Carolina has over 200 public monuments and memorials honoring the Civil War. This guide is for those interested in learning about these Confederate monuments and memorials. The sections include general information, organization, and monuments in North Carolina.
This is an inventory of NC’s monuments, shrines, and public art, including those related to the Civil War. An aim is for North Carolina citizens to understand the state’s landscape they have inherited and make informed decisions about the future. This is a digital collection with over 1000 historical monuments across North Carolina. The site does not claim to be final, and it does not include state highway markers and historic home sites.