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Two Americas

SILENT SAM HISTORY: Dr. King “Never Contemplated” Removing Historic Monuments

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Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “never contemplated” removing Confederate monuments during his time, according to a beautiful article about the history of Silent Sam, the statue honoring fallen Confederate soldiers that stood for 105 years on the University of North Carolina campus. The statue was recently torn down by left-wing activists under the leadership of militant UNC professor Dwayne Dixon.

Here is what Ben Jones writes in his piece “Silent Sam and Me” for the Abbeville Institute: “Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. never contemplated the destruction of historic monuments or the removal of historic symbols. His entire thrust, reiterated again and again, was for Southern white and blacks to “dine together at the table of brotherhood.” He longed for the “integration” of our different “histories” as essential to our common future. A simple acceptance of the past is all that is necessary. With that comes forgiveness. It may not be easy, but it is necessary,” Jones writes.

Jones also has a beautifully rendered memory of John F. Kennedy speaking on the University of North Carolina campus. He writes:

“The one constant outside that window, in every season, was the noble statue of “Silent Sam,” the Confederate soldier who stood vigilant watch over the campus. “Sam” represented those young students who had left the campus when “the War” came, and who went off to do their duty. It was said that UNC gave more students to the Southern Cause than any other school. It is “likely” true.

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Just a few weeks after my arrival, I joined thousands of other students as we tramped through the campus to Kenan Stadium, to listen to a speech by the nation’s young President, John F. Kennedy, on the occasion of the University’s Founders Day. Then in his first year in office, JFK was in full form, at his handsome, youthful and charismatic best.

And here is how he dealt with the South’s past and the War Between the States. Here is what this liberal Democrat from Massachusetts said then of the Tar Heel State:

“There is, of course, no place in America where reason and firmness are more clearly pointed out than here in North Carolina. All Americans can profit from what happened in this State a century ago. It was this State, firmly fixed in the traditions of the South, which sought a way of reason in a troubled and dangerous world. Yet when the War came, North Carolina provided a fourth of all of the Confederate soldiers who made the supreme sacrifice in those years. And it won the right to the slogan, ‘First at Bethel. Farthest to the front at Gettysburg and Chickamauga. Last at Appomattox’.”

I was still a student at Chapel Hill when, a little over two years later, John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas. It had a profound effect upon me. He had asked at Chapel Hill, echoing Goethe, “Are you going to be a hammer or an anvil?” Within days I was marching and demonstrating in the Civil Rights Movement. It was my way of dealing with his death.”

Ben Jones passage ends

There is also an amazing photo of UNC alum Michael Jordan standing with Silent Sam during his time on campus:

Dr. King’s family has long felt that convicted assassin James Earl Ray was an innocent man who was framed. The federal government’s wiretaps of Dr. King during the FBI reign of J. Edgar Hoover are well-documented.

King’s killing in 1968 occurred in the same bloody year that Bobby Kennedy was shot while running for president in the California primary by a man named Sirhan Sirhan, whose motives have also been widely questioned.

The Washington Post reports:

For the King family and others in the civil rights movement, the FBI’s obsession with King in the years leading up to his slaying in Memphis on April 4, 1968 — pervasive surveillance, a malicious disinformation campaign and open denunciations by FBI director J. Edgar Hoover — laid the groundwork for their belief that he was the target of a plot.
“It pains my heart,” said Bernice King, 55, the youngest of Martin Luther King’s four children and the executive director of the King Center in Atlanta, “that James Earl Ray had to spend his life in prison paying for things he didn’t do.”
Until her own death in 2006, Coretta Scott King, who endured the FBI’s campaign to discredit her husband, was open in her belief that a conspiracy led to the assassination. Her family filed a civil suit in 1999 to force more information into the public eye, and a Memphis jury ruled that the local, state and federal governments were liable for King’s death. The full transcript of the trial remains posted on the King Center’s website.”

 

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