Now there is a SilenceSam.com website!
Please join the rally in North Carolina this Monday Morning – or tweet and spread the word however you can. Thank you! 🙂 Here’s the Full Text of the letter from Maya’s fellow graduate students in support of her actions. The UNC Faculty support her actions. Here is Maya Little’s full statement on the matter.
It’s time for #UNC’s Silent Sam monument to be moved off campus and into whatever historical entity would like to have it. It’s done enough damage to the students, faculty, the community of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and the entire United States of America.
As an educator and historian, I am nothing less than offended by its very existence.
Maya Little is a graduate student getting her PhD in History at the University of North Carolina. She was arrested on April 30th for conducting a peaceful protest, in broad daylight, where she poured red ink, mixed with her own blood, on to the Silent Sam monument.
Please tweet and speak out on her behalf this weekend, leading up to Monday morning, May 7, at 9 am – when she will be having a court hearing about her arrest.
Maya Little is a PhD graduate student, majoring in history, at UNC.
I first found out about the Silent Sam monument, and the horrific story behind it, when heard that Chelsea Manning spoke at a protest there in March. Until I looked up the very informative Wikipedia page on Silent Sam, I had no idea about the history behind this monument. When I learned it was another monument that was placed by the “United Daughters of the Confederacy” – I couldn’t believe the thing was still standing.
That statue literally depicts a white college student, as he drops his books to go fight in the Civil War (in the hopes of continuing the practice of slavery).
The Governor of North Carolina tried to remove it last year, but the NC state legislature had already passed laws in 2015 that protected it:
“…a 2015 law passed by the North Carolina General Assembly stipulates that local officials or state agencies cannot unilaterally remove memorials or monuments that “commemorates an event, a person, or military service that is part of North Carolina’s history.” Instead, approval for removals or locations of such monuments on public property must gain approval of the N.C. Historical Commission. The law passed the N.C. Senate with unanimous approval of Democrats in that chamber, including former state senator and current N.C. Attorney General Josh Stein. It received just short of a super-majority in the N.C. House of Representatives.”
Maya Little, getting arrested at the protest against Silent Sam.
So, with good reason obviously, PhD history student Maya Little went back to Silent Sam, on April 30th to draw more attention to this festering issue, and was promptly arrested. Her hearing is THIS MONDAY, May 7, and we need to show support for her!
The History Department at #UNC created a rather understated, yet straight forward, page of links about the monument to provide context: http://history.unc.edu/silentsam/
Here is the video of Maya’s peaceful protest:
Her fellow graduate students at the University of North Carolina’s History Department came out overwhelmingly in favor of Maya’s actions. Here is their letter below:
Page 1 – Letter from UNC’s History Department’s Graduate Students
Page 2 – Letter from UNC’s History Department’s Graduate Students
Text of the Letter of Support from Maya’s fellow UNC History Graduate Students:
History Graduate Student Statement of Support for Maya Little
As individual graduate students of the History Department at UNC studying, among other topics, African-American, indigenous, civil rights, anti-colonial, revolutionary, labor, queer, accessibility, Jewish, and feminist history, we stand with Maya Little and her courageous act of nonviolent civil disobedience at Silent Sam. From a historical perspective, we recognize that Maya joins a long line of activists and revolutionaries who have employed this strategy to gain dignity, justice, and equality for all people when structures of power and legal systems have failed to do so.
Carol Felt and her administration have clearly failed in their responsibility to ensure the safety and well-being of all of UNC’s students. Removing Silent Sam, a memorial to racism and white supremacy, would be both moral and legal. Instead, Felt chooses to spend $1 ,700 a day to defend Silent Sam while paying UNC graduate students $1,200 a month. She allowed outside white supremacist and nee-confederate groups to rally around Silent Sam with the protection of UNC Police, putting our campus community at risk.
When the administration refuses to protect its community, it is the duty of students, fa culty, staff, campus and graduate workers to do so by challenging institutional racism and oppression. Maya Little took that responsibility on her shoulders by properly contextualizing a statue thatwas already drenched in black blood. Built in 1913 by white supremacists who enslaved and murdered black Americans, the statue continues to serve as a rallying point for violent white supremacist groups today. We support Maya’s actions unequivocally. Now it is our turn to stand for diversity and equity on campus. These are our demands:
• We demand that Chancellor Felt remove Silent Sam
• We demand that the administration not take action against Maya Little for her act of civil disobedience
• We demand that UNC’s Trustees remove the 16 year moratorium on renaming campus buildings, including our own Hamilton Hall, named after KKK apologist Joseph Gregoirede Roulhac Hamilton
• We demand fair compensation for the campus workers who cleaned Silent Sam of
blood, when it is Felt who should take have taken responsibility for attempting to
whitewash UNC’s history
• We demand that the administration act to address institutional racism on campus
Until these demands are met, we will continue to call out the culture and structures of white supremacy at UNC. We will continue to call out UNC administrators who refuse to redress our institution’s participation in slavery, Jim Crow, and continued racial inequality. We will continue to stand by those who protest these vestiges of white supremacy on campus and beyond.
Caroline Wood Newhall
Angelica Castillo Reyna
Jeffrey Ryan Harris
R. Joshua Sipe
Maikel Farinas Borrego
Jan Jules Gutgold