Silent Sam

Silent Sam

Silent Sam is a statue of a Confederate soldier on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It is located on McCorkle Place, the university's upper quad; facing Franklin Street on the northern edge of campus.

The statue was given to the university by United Daughters of the Confederacy and erected in 1913 as a monument to the 321 alumni who died in the Civil War and all students who joined the Confederate States Army. More than one thousand members of the university fought in the American Civil War (1861-1865), at least 40% of the students, a record not equaled by any other school, in either the North or South. It is silent because the figure wears no cartridge box for ammunition.

It is said that if a female student who is a virgin walks past Silent Sam, his rifle will fire. The statue has frequently been a source of controversy, being seen by some as a symbol of regional pride, others a sign of ongoing racial oppression. Students gathered here to speak out after Los Angeles police officers were found not guilty in the 1992 Rodney King trial.


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