The June 2 Past Times column “UNC’s Silent Sam statue was unveiled in 1913 ceremony” focused on the 102nd anniversary of the unveiling of the Silent Sam statue on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus. It included an account, published at the time, of remarks made at the occasion by Julian Carr, the Confederate soldier and industrialist for whom Carrboro is named.
In noting that he had “extended thanks on behalf of the students,” etc., the 1913 account shortchanged Carr by failing to convey the full flavor of his remarks, which overflowed with the then-current rhetoric of white supremacy.
Carr related, for example, how in the years following the Civil War former Confederates banded together to “preserve the purest strain of the Anglo-Saxon race.” He illustrated his point with personal testimony: “100 yards from where we stand, less than 90 days perhaps after my return from Appomattox, I horse-whipped a negro wench, until her skirts hung in shreds, because upon the streets of this quiet village she had publicly insulted and maligned a Southern lady.” Carr’s full text, documented in UNC’s Southern Historical Collection, is available online.
If Silent Sam is to continue to stand – and I for one say he should – today’s Southerners must view him head-on, in the naked light cast by Carr’s dedicatory remarks.