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Posts from the ‘Featured’ Category

Harvest Moon Celebration 2018

CSAS is proud to be a cosponsor for UNC Edible Campus’s Harvest Moon Celebration 2018: Corn Across Cultures.

Enjoy an evening under the light of the Harvest Moon, as we celebrate the fall season of harvest in the Edible Campus UNC* Garden, and the vibrant food cultures of the region. We will hear the stories of inspiring local food and social justice leaders, and celebrate the next generation of food activists.


– Vimala Rajendran, Vimala’s Curryblossom Cafe
– Spring Council, “Collards and Caviar,” Mama Dip’s Kitchen
– Cecilia Polanco, So Good Pupusas
– Ryan Dial-Stanley, Lumbee student, storyteller, and musician
– Dissimilar South, UNC/Chapel Hill’s southern folk band
– Spoken word artists of the UNC Chapel Hill community, and more!

Attendees are encouraged to pack dinner and blanket, and enjoy this evening Forest Theatre. Light snacks and refreshments featuring ingredients from the Edible Campus Garden will be available from UNC’s student food justice organizations. This event is free and open to the public.

Event organized in partnership with Center for Study of the American South, Carolina Performing Arts, American Indian Center, Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, and UNC’s student food justice organizations.


* Edible Campus UNC is a program of the North Carolina Botanical Garden that creates edible landscapes across the UNC Chapel Hill campus to facilitate student engagement in food and agriculture sustainability. Learn more at, and swing by for a snack!

On Silent Sam and the Study of the South

8/21/18 UPDATE: We could not be more pleased that, in many ways, our statement became irrelevant as soon as we published it. We are proud of the activists and students who, in the words of Pauli Murray (a black woman who wrote to then-President Frank Porter Graham seeking admission to UNC in 1938), “cannot compromise with [their] ideals of human equality.” Like Murray, “We have seen the consequences of such compromises in the bloody pages of human history, and we must hold fast, using all of our passion and our reason.” UNC’s leadership refuses to recognize that their own inaction put our community in danger. We acknowledge the constraints they face but we urge them to stand on the right side of history and join us in rejecting simplistic interpretations of last night’s actions as vandalism. Silent Sam was violence. Protestorswho removed it sought to reorient our future toward non-violence. UNC’s leadership has another chance to heed Pauli Murray’s call to hold fast to our ideals for human equality. We need new narratives to reckon with the history we share.

UNC’s Center for the Study of the American South recognizes that we cannot lead critical conversations in or about the region if we do not address the controversies on our own campus. As we study the South at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, we are compelled to confront the fact that southerners are as hostile to one another as we are hospitable. Southerners created the Confederacy, and they also created the Civil Rights Movement. We are now in another moment when UNC’s legacy will be forged in powerful ways that reach beyond the politics of our state.

Maya Little pours her blood and red paint on Silent Sam as a cop stands over her shoulder.

Maya Little pours her own blood mixed with red paint on Silent Sam. (Photo by Herald Sun)

The Confederate monument at UNC nicknamed “Silent Sam” is a misogynist insult to the campus’s women; it also whitewashes the past to reflect a Jim Crow regime that we reject. Silent Sam stands in the way of every constructive, future-oriented value that UNC-Chapel Hill holds. To move forward, we will not erase the past, but we must energize the inclusive aspects of southern life that carry us forward. Inclusive southerners have borne centuries of movement and merging in this region not as a burden but as an engine to transform the world. Inclusivity is a style of leadership that is not afraid to challenge hierarchies when equal protection is at stake. “Silent Sam” stands in the way of our purpose.

Last year, when white nationalists invaded Charlottesville, Virginia, and committed murder and assault in the name of Confederate memory and white supremacy, rigorous, useful analysis ensued from the tragedy. It became clear that Silent Sam does not represent the Confederacy or the Civil War accurately. Its establishment is incendiary and represents a current of racial hatred that many who otherwise wish to honor the Confederate dead reject. Silent Sam stands for a regime that endorsed the violent subjugation and exploitation of black people. Given the many options to remove, relocate, or contextualize the statue, why would we keep it on the metaphorical mantelpiece of our home?

Chancellor Folt has called for the monument’s removal, in keeping with the wishes of the majority of the University community. A new effort to contextualize the monument has been announced. Yet the administration has spent nearly $400,000 to provide security around the statue. Those same security officers have removed student property and destroyed students’ own efforts to contextualize the monumenton McCorkle Place. Last fall’s bucolic tailgating was disrupted by angry campus visitors who confronted students with racial epithets while security officers stood by. Student Maya Little has been charged with violating UNC’s honor code.

Demonstrators gather around Silent Sam where a banner is draped over the statue reading "Rest in Power Heather Heyer"

Demonstrators gather to honor Heather Heyer who was killed during white supremacy rallies in Charlottesville, VA. (Photo by Herald Sun)

While there is widespread support for removing the statue, our UNC leadership has focused narrowly on managing this crisis within the context of a 2015 state law that says we cannot remove the statue on our own. North Carolina’s General Assembly provides for a clear avenue to remove the statue—a petition to the Historical Commission—but when the administration has made a move to address removal, the University’s attorneys have insisted that they cannot do so. According to legal experts, they cannot file a petition or even discuss the issue, and Board of Governors Chairman Harry Smith reneged on an earlier statement that proposed openness.

The inaction that has resulted is immoral. Excessive deference to process over people can itself be a form of violence when it makes the obvious solution to end suffering seem impossible. We are not proposing that the Chancellor and others break the law. Not pursuing the legal remedy available to us, a formal petition from the University to the Historical Commission to remove the statue, is not a practical or ethical position. A recent statement by the Historical Commission, which meets August 22, implies they are waiting for such a petition to consider removing the statue. This glacial pace of problem-solving will not quiet this issue. We see that from the anniversary protests at the University of Virginia and in Washington, D.C. inaction does not protect our campus.

A crowd of demonstrators look on, one holding a sign that says "Statues Do Not Equal History"

Demonstrators rally for the removal of Silent Sam. The city mayor had asked the university to take the channels to remove the statue. (Photo by Sara D. Davis/Getty Images)

The Center for the Study of the American South recognizes that removing the statue will not, by itself, erase attitudes of white supremacy, eliminate racial violence in our society, provide equal protection to immigrants who enter lawfully, or redress the other injustices that are standing in the way of our nation’s progress. Removing a toxic symbol from our campus, however, will free the University of North Carolina to fulfill its promise to facilitate research, knowledge, ideas, and frameworks that do address these problems. Taking Silent Sam down opens the door for reconciliation and will allow UNC to declare itself a true home for all.

Best of 2017-18 Music on the Porch

Can’t wait for next fall? You can enjoy some of our favorite recent Music on the Porch moments on our YouTube channel. Here’s a sampling:

Education & Resegregation Town Hall, Thurs, April 19 at 7:00 pm

Can’t attend in person? Follow along with our Livestream: and Tweet us your questions @UNCSouth with the hashtag #SeparateIsUnequal.

How much racial progress has been made in America since 1955, when the U.S. Supreme Court ordered all 50 states to desegregate public schools “with all deliberate speed”? Or, as Clarence Page has asked, how much progress has been made on school desegregation since Martin Luther King, Jr was assassinated in 1968? We have invited four experts on school desegregation to share their knowledge and answer questions about disturbing trends toward school resegregation in the South. For more information about the panelists and moderator, please click here.

Tell About the South: Mishio Yamanaka, Tues, April 17 at 12:30 pm

Mishio Yamanaka, a PhD candidate in UNC’s Department of History and the 2017-18 McColl Fellow, will show how Creoles of color in New Orleans achieved the partial desegregation of public schools during Reconstruction and resisted resegregation in 1877. In her dissertation, she argues that public schools catalyzed Creoles’ civil rights debate, as they considered educational opportunities fundamental to racial equality. By examining school records and family histories, her project reveals how Creoles of color forged a community-wide desegregation campaign during the Reconstruction period.

This event is free and open to the public, but RSVPs to Patrick Horn at will be appreciated. Light refreshments will be served.