On Monday, UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Carol Folt announced her resignation as of the end of the academic year—and also said that she’d authorized the removal of the base of Silent Sam, the century-old Confederate monument whose statue protesters had pulled down in August. 

By Tuesday morning, Sam’s remnants had been carted away. By Tuesday afternoon, an enraged UNC system Board of Governors—who’d been left in the dark about the chancellor’s plans—had accepted Folt’s resignation but ordered her out by the end of the month, rather than in May. 

Now, the question: What to do with Sam? The state’s objects of remembrance law, passed in 2015, appears to require the university to put it back up. But who’s going to enforce it? Folt’s right that its presence poses a threat to public safety, which gives Governor Cooper an out. Re-erecting it would, at a minimum, give the state an HB 2-like black eye; in a worst-case scenario, it would prompt a full-on riot. And in any event, neither students, faculty, nor the UNC-CH Board of Trustees want the monument to white supremacy on campus. 

That decision, then, will ultimately fall to the Board of Governors, a mostly conservative bunch appointed by the Republican-controlled General Assembly. And one of its most conservative members—and probably its biggest Silent Sam apologist—former state senator Thom Goolsby of Wilmington, has a “great suggestion”: Take the $5 million Folt wanted to use to build a history center to house Silent Sam and instead put the Confederate statue back where it once stood, in McCorkle Place, then build some sort of structure to protect it from the rabble and “allow people to present their views, and actually allow different points of view, and perhaps even encourage other statues to be put up.”

What sort of statues? you ask. The kind that inform students that Democrats are the real racists.

Goolsby’s ideas: one commemorating the Wilmington insurrection of 1898, when white supremacists burned a black newspaper to the ground and overthrew the town’s newly elected Republican government; another for the minority women “forcibly sterilized by the Democrat Party who controlled our state for decades,” in Goolsby’s words. 

He closes by encouraging people to call their lawmakers and demand that the “rule of law” be upheld. Watch his YouTube video here. 

One reply on “UNC Board of Governors Member Thom Goolsby’s Got a Plan to Re-Erect Silent Sam”

  1. The Objects of Remembrance Law was created when North Carolina rednecks/racists freaked out a black man was in the White House and showed up en force at the polls. I am uncertain that it was due to their blatantly/shamelessly offensive behavior but it had been over a century since they had held power in NC. First they gave themselves raises with no way to offset the cost to taxpayers after campaigning on “Tax and Spend”.” Then they gave the puppet governor superman powers only to remove them before Gov Cooper could take office. The hypocrisy is so thick it takes your breath away. And no end in sight. In their panic to preserve monuments to their newly emboldened racism they passed an embarrassingly white law to protect statues et al that they knew were in jeopardy because they were unwanted/unliked by a majority of the populace. “We’ll show those educated people who believe in mutual respect and dignity who is in charge!” While growing up (still am) I was taught to never, I mean never, call anyone stupid. But these people have broken the stupid meter. Silent Sam is just one more glaring embarrassment for my alma mater and my home state, the great state of North Carolina. Voter suppression, unprecedented gerrymandering, the brain dead birther bullshit, proud racist/fascist behavoir, HB-2, election tampering in Bladen County, etc. Their performance in politics is almost as bad as their woeful academic showing. And if you call them on it, they are ready to fight. I am old enough to remember vividly the vile racist hatred of the Civil Rights movement fifty years ago. One would hope that in a half of a century a culture based on hatred and intolerance would have evolved at least to some extent. Apparently not.

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