The North Carolina division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy commissioned this memorial in 1913 in honor of the UNC alumni who “answered the call of duty” as Confederate soldiers in the Civil War. The relief beneath the statue of the soldier depicts a woman (representing the state of North Carolina) exhorting a student to drop his books and join the cause. The soldier himself carries a gun but no ammunition, which led to the nickname “Silent Sam.”
The monument is perhaps the most controversial memorial on campus. Many view it as a glorification of the Confederacy and thus a tacit defense of slavery, and believe it should be removed from campus. Many others feel that such a removal would do more harm than good by denying the reality of this period of UNC’s (and the nation’s) history. Do-Ho Suh’s “Unsung Founders, Bond and Free,” standing nearby in the same courtyard since 2005, was created in part to act as a voice to counter the negative connotations of the Confederate Monument by honoring the African American slaves and servants from the same historical period.