CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — It was the first day of classes on campus in Chapel Hill. And if you were a Tar Heel first-year student — you might have no idea Silent Sam was ever here.
Silent Sam was a Confederate statue built in 1913 and dedicated to the UNC students and faculty who left school to fight in the Civil War for the Confederacy.
On August 20, 2018, student protesters toppled Silent Sam, knocking the statue to the ground, kicking it and tossing dirt on top of it.
One year later, students and activists returned to remind everyone of the years-long battle that was waged on McCorkle Place.
“We were chanting, we crossed the street and then they put the banners up. Police stepped back and gave us a lot of time to do our work because we made them exhausted,” recalled Michelle Brown who spent who spent her UNC undergrad years as one of the vocal leaders of the campaign to get rid of Silent Sam.
Now she’s one of many Tar Heel graduates who returned Tuesday to celebrate what she considers one of their movements’ greatest achievements — the statue’s toppling.