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Raleigh Billboards Target Silent Sam's Removal

Courtesy of the Independent Media Institute.

A national group has erected two billboards in Raleigh seeking the removal of a Confederate statue known as Silent Sam.

The two billboards feature an image of Silent Sam with a red X over it, and say "North Carolina Needs A Monumental Change."

The billboards are part of the Make It Right Project, funded by the progressive Independent Media Institute. The project is targeting 10 Confederate monuments around the nation.

“We will likely do billboards in other places and we will likely do more billboards in Raleigh. But it won’t be the only method that we use,” said Kali Holloway, director of the Make It Right Project.

The Silent Sam monument on UNC Chapel Hill’s campus has been the focus of demonstrations and protests since the 1960s.

The goal of the campaign isn't merely to raise awareness, according to Holloway. It's intended to bolster student activists and convince the North Carolina Historical Commission the monument is dangerous and should be removed.

“These Confederate monuments attract violent racists because they recognize what the monuments are there for and what they stand for," Holloway said. "They are tangible manifestations of white supremacy."

The state chapter of Sons of Confederate Veterans responded to the billboards, saying "it’s absurd for an out-of-state pressure group to affect change in North Carolina."

The group said it supports first amendment rights, but "trying to take down war memorials for political correctness is wrong."

The billboards in Raleigh are the start of a national campaign by the Make It Right Project. It's targeting Confederate monuments from Jacksonville, Florida to Seattle, Washington.

"We're dug in for at least a year, maybe two," Holloway said. "There are neo-Confederates who are very dedicated to keeping these monuments in place, so it's not going to happen overnight."

The billboards in Raleigh are scheduled to stay up for a month.   


James Morrison is a national award-winning broadcast reporter with more than seven years experience working in radio and podcasts. His work has been featured on NPR, Marketplace, Here & Now and multiple other radio outlets and podcasts. His reporting focuses on environmental and health issues, with a focus on the opioid epidemic and sustainable food systems. He was recognized with a national award for a story he reported for NPR on locally-sourced oyster farming. He also received a national award for his daily news coverage of firefighters killed in the line of duty. A podcast he produced about the fall of Saigon during the Vietnam War was accepted into the Hearsay International Audio Arts Festival.
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