CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) — A Confederate marker that stood in Chapel Hill for nearly 100 years was removed Friday, town officials say.
After protesters knocked down Silent Sam on UNC’s campus last August, Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger told CBS 17 the focus shifted to the Jefferson Davis memorial marker along Franklin Street.
“The marker does not represent our community values and it was not placed there by our community,” Hemminger said.
CBS 17 has learned the small marker that was once on Franklin Street — a few feet from where Silent Sam once stood — belongs to the United Daughters of the Confederacy.
“There was no permission given or not given to put the marker there,” Hemminger said.
On Friday, crews removed the marker, as well as a plaque recently placed next to it dedicated to Black History.
“We really are concerned about public safety,” said Hemminger. “People’s right to put plaques and do things doesn’t come at the expense of public safety.”
The activist group ‘Take Action Chapel Hill’ sent CBS 17 a statement saying “Public art honoring black history is not, as the town has stated, a ‘public nuisance.’ Public art honoring black history is not a ‘public safety threat’.”
Hemminger said both pieces were removed because individuals placed them there, not the community.
“We have processes so that no one voice gets to speak louder than another,” said Hemminger. She believes the Jefferson Davis memorial marker was a rallying point for people to protest.
She tells CBS 17 it will be returned to its owner, and if it comes back, it will be removed again.
“We want everyone to feel welcome to come here and we don’t want things like plaques and things that make others feel unwelcome to be a shining beacon,” she said.