Last week, Silent Sam–one of the most visible Confederate monuments in the South–came off its pedestal. It was yanked into the dirt by protestors, finally at the mercy of the community that had suffered under Sam’s gaze for a little over a hundred years. The last video clips and photos of the evening showed a crew hauling the statue into a dump truck and driving off under the cover of darkness, leaving behind the ropes used to tear the metal loose.
I can’t remember the first time I saw Sam. It must have been on a campus tour, though I was almost certainly distracted at the time by my overwhelming fear of graduating from high school and becoming a college student. But I do remember that on my first day at Carolina, up bright and early for a lecture in a course I would later drop, I passed by the statue, the base sprayed with vomit from drunken revelers celebrating the beginning of the semester. Tourists were posing in front of it anyway.