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Debate over Confederate statues is far from over, says civil rights group

Posted at 11:55 AM, Aug 23, 2018

Another Confederate statue came down on the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill campus this week.

A crowd of nearly 250 protestors took down the statue known as Silent Sam on the eve of the new school year.

According to a school website, the statue was built in 1913 and was put up to commemorate Confederate soldiers from the university, "who died for their beloved Southland" during the Civil War.

The removal of the statue comes months after students and some faculty began calling for it to be taken down.

As that played out in North Carolina, another monumental change occurred in Oklahoma, as the Tulsa Public Schools, after weeks of debate, voted to rename Robert E. Lee Elementary School.

In the past three years, over 100 Confederate monuments have been removed. However, far more remain, and are still being cataloged.  They’re also not just in the south.

According to a recent report by the Southern Poverty Law Center, more than 1,700 monuments and namesakes, commemorating the Confederacy remain.

"The SPLC, of course, does not support destruction of memorials,” says Lecia Brooks, with the SPLC. “We just believe they should be removed from public space to a place where they can be taught about in context-- to a museum, to an archive.”

Brooks says the two events this week, both occurring at the very start of the school year, sends a message that the debate is far from over.

"College admins do themselves a disservice and underplay the students if they think that they’re just going to simply forget about these things at the end of the school year and come back and start a school year anew with the same monuments existing,” Brooks says. “I think it’s wonderful. We wanted a conversation to start and we want a conversation to continue."