Chapel Hill: Opinion

Your letters: Laurence Avery, Miriam Thompson, Margaret Samuels and Iris Tilley

Insightful commentary

Thank you for running absolutely the best commentary yet available on the Confederate memorial, Silent Sam. I refer to Reginald Hildebrand’s “UNC’s Confederate monument no joke” in the Chapel Hill News on Sunday (CHN, nando.com/1um)

Professor Hildebrand takes those to task who have defaced the statue in the dark of night, wisely admonishing them that “Protesters should be willing to own their actions and proclaim their message.” Then he proclaims his own message, which is that the statue of a Confederate soldier is by definition associated with racism, that the statue’s nickname is clearly sexist (something devised by adolescent males), and that from the perspective of the United States the statue is unpatriotic. The late UNC historian George B. Tindall, in his fine “America: A Narrative History,” underpins the first and third of those points in his discussion of the era in which such Confederate memorials were erected, the period around the turn into the 20th century.

I especially enjoyed the way Professor Hildebrand deflated the claims of those who say that honoring the Confederate past is the way to honor their Southern heritage. Neatly, he reminds them of the broad range of Southern-focused enterprises on the UNC-CH campus alone: our Center for the Study of the American South, Southern Historical Collection, Southern Studies Program, Institute for Research in Social Science, and the host of scholars and artists devoted to studying and interpreting Southern culture. “It is a great mistake,” he concludes, “to equate honoring the Confederate war effort with embracing the history and culture of the South.”

Laurence Avery

The writer is emeritus professor of English at UNC.

Beyond speeches

Mark Schultz’s report on the Aug. 6 rally outside the Old Courthouse in Hillsborough (CHN, nando.com/1tk) deserves wide attention and respect for the kind of journalism we have come to expect and cherish from our hometown newspaper.

The NAACP-led rally, which I attended with hundreds of neighbors from all walks of life, included presentations by the Rev. William Barber, NAACP state president; Timothy Tyson, major historian and professor at Duke University; and Laurel Ashton, NAACP NC’s field secretary. Beyond speeches, I urge readers to share with their children and grandchildren AND their teachers professor Tyson’s longer presentation on the history of the Confederacy and the ongoing struggle for racial justice that is featured in the Institute for Southern Studies’ recent edition.

Mindful of the Confederate flag rally in Hillsborough only a few days later, speakers at the press conference demanded our attention, exposed the brutal history behind the state’s 100 Confederate monuments, challenged the governor's action to encourage Confederate flags on North Carolina license plates, and challenged all of us to continue the struggle against all forms of oppression that claim our country's history and current political environment, and urged all of us to honor those who gave their lives to achieve the Voting Rights Act on August 6, 50 years ago We can start by voting this November for local municipal and school board candidates who champion a just and beloved community.

Miriam Thompson

Chapel Hill

BBQ for a Cause

OE Enterprises, Inc., has been serving community members with disabilities in Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Hillsborough and throughout Orange County for over 40 years.

On August 29, we will be hosting a BBQ for a Cause to raise funds for community employment and training. Please join us from noon to 4 p.m. on the grounds of the OE building at 348 Elizabeth Brady Road in Hillsborough for a wonderful day of BBQ, live music, horseshoe tournament and much more. You can call us at 919-732-8124 or purchase tickets at oeenterprises.org/bbq-fundraising-event/

We look forward to seeing you!

Margaret Samuels

President

OE Enterprises, Inc.

Renew Coach Hatchell’s contract

My husband Tom and I are both “youngins” in our 80s, and we are tremendous supporters of the Tar Heels. We are season ticket holders of our incredible University of North Carolina women’s basketball team. I also belong to the nonprofit organization “Team Tempo.” Yes, we are Tar Heel fans through and through!

It is with enthusiastic praise that I send this letter to you in regard to our incredible women’s basketball coach, Sylvia Hatchell. As Coach Hatchell prepares to begin her 30th season at UNC, we look forward with tremendous anticipation to another winning year! As you know, our Coach Hatchell, with 961 wins to her stats is the winning-est active coach in women’s basketball in the country. She is all-time second behind Pat Summitt, who is retired. A tremendous legacy, yes, however, I believe there is a great deal more that we will see from her extraordinary coaching career and our team.

Proof is in her passion for the game and our university, as this past season, our team finished 26-9 with a final ESPN/USA Today ranking of ninth in the country! Now, with pre-season rankings for next season having the women’s team at No. 8 in the country, we are excited to see what next season brings. With Coach Hatchell having 9 ACC Championships, three Final Fours and the 1994 National Championship, she has demonstrated over and over again her love for her calling in coaching women’s basketball.

We are certainly proud of the fact that Coach Hatchell is the only coach in our country’s history to have won national championships on three different levels, the most in 2013. Due to her passion and drive, there is no question as to why Coach Hatchell was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, which makes our beloved UNC the only university in our country to have both the women's and men’s basketball coaches in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. What an accolade!!

We were so glad to know that Coach Williams’ contract was renewed. We request, with utmost sincerity that Coach Hatchell’s contract be renewed as well, with the unbridled confidence, faith and pride that comes from being a fierce Tar Heel fan of a winning team and a superior coach. Let’s do this again! Thank you.

Now, Go Heels!!!

Iris Tilley

Chapel Hill

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