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Covert Melting of Robert E. Lee Statue Reignites Questions About Fate of ‘Silent Sam,’ the University of North Carolina’s Toppled Confederate Sentinel
Will UNC’s ‘Silent Sam’ meet the same fate as his commander?
(New York Sun) – Viral footage of General Robert E. Lee’s statue, formerly of Charlottesville, Virginia, being melted in a secret location to be made into new and “inclusive” art is raising questions about the fate of another notorious Confederate monument, “Silent Sam” of Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Like Lee’s monument, “Silent Sam” was removed from its longtime home at the city center during the national reappraisal of Confederate monuments five years ago. Yet the location of “Silent Sam” – and whether it, too, is furnace bound – remains a tightly guarded secret.
Lee’s statue was “cut into fragments and dropped into a furnace, dissolving into a sludge of glowing bronze,” the Washington Post reported, at a secret southern foundry somewhere outside of Virginia.
The organizers of the melting tell the Sun that though they believe they are the only group to melt a Confederate statue so far, they “certainly hope that our process can become a model for other communities grappling with what to do with their monuments that have been removed.”
The movement to melt down or otherwise destroy toppled Confederate monuments opens a new front in the debate over…