[This letter was written by LWV-Wake member Margie Maddox and published in The News & Observer. It was written as a private citizen and not on behalf of the League.]
News & Observer - August 29, 2018
The Civil War formally ended in 1865; Wilmington’s post-war black population became so successful that the race riot and massacre of 1898 resulted; mass black migration was occurring from the South; slavery was being replaced by sharecropping; Jim Crow laws were being ushered in as the white population attempted to re-establish a sense of white supremacy; and actions taken by the Daughters of the Confederacy reinforced these emerging strong emotions.
This is the backdrop for Julian Carr’s speech in 1913, as the Silent Sam statue was dedicated. During his speech, he bragged about having whipped a “Negro” female less than 90 days previously.
No one denies the Civil War occurred or its role in Southern history; nor can anyone deny that alumni of the University of North Carolina fought and died in this war.
Perhaps respect for this statue, erected more than 50 years after the war ended, would be better served if it were re-erected elsewhere complete with an appropriate dedication allowing all to better understand the feelings surrounding this situation. Silent Sam could then become a teachable moment in North Carolina’s history.