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Commemorative Landscapes of North Carolina
Commemorative Landscapes of North Carolina
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  • Monument Name

    Unsung Founders Memorial, UNC (Chapel Hill)

  • Type

    Sculpture

  • Subjects

    Historic African American Figures

    Educational Institutions

  • Creator

    Do-Ho Suh, Sculptor

    Ben Singer, Unspecified

    Byron Wilson, Unspecified

  • City

    Chapel Hill

  • County

    Orange

  • Description

    The memorial is a table located in McCorkle Place, one of the University’s quads. The table is made of black granite and supported by 300 bronze figurines. The table is surrounded by 5 black stone seats.

  • Inscription

    Inscribed around edge of table: THE CLASS OF 2002 HONORS THE UNIVERSITY’S UNSUNG FOUNDERS — THE PEOPLE OF COLOR BOUND AND FREE — WHO HELPED BUILD THE CAROLINA THAT WE CHERISH TODAY.

  • Custodian

    University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

  • Dedication Date

    November 5, 2005

  • Decade

    2000s

  • Geographic Coordinates

    35.913620 , -79.052120 View in Geobrowsemap pin

  • Supporting Sources

      "Celebrating the Unsung Founders," University Gazette (Chapel Hill, NC), November 16, 2005, (accessed February 2, 2011) Link

      "Do-Ho Suh, Unsung Founders, Bond and Free, McCorkle Place, 2005," The Carolina Story: A Virtual Museum of University History, (accessed April 3, 2012) Link

      "Unsung Founders Memorial to be Dedicated Saturday (Nov. 5) on UNC's McCorkle Place," UNC: Our Community, (accessed February 2, 2011) Link

      Allman, Kate and Cassadi Walden. "Recognizing the unsung founders," Learn NC, (accessed January 6, 2014) Link

  • Public Site

    Yes

  • Materials & Techniques

    Black granite, bronze

  • Sponsors

    University Graduating Class of 2002

  • Monument Cost

    $94,000

  • Controversies

    There has been discussion since the monument’s installation of the monument in such a prominent location on one of the campus’s main quads, particularly concerning the impression it gives to visitors of the campus. There has also been discussion about the monument being overshadowed by the Confederate monument on campus (Silent Sam). The artist originally wanted it placed more to the side of the quad and under a tree. However, the facilities department worried the monument monument might damage a tree. Eventually the current location was chosen.

  • Location

    The monument is located in McCorkle place on the UNC campus.

  • Landscape

    The location of the monument is interesting in its proximity to the campus’s Memorial to the University’s Civil War soldiers. The location is intentional to represent the University’s dedication to recognizing its history. At the monument’s dedication, the Chancellor at the time spoke to the monument’s significance in the University’s commitment to recognizing all aspects of its history, including its darker aspects.

  • Approval Process

    The Class of 2002 voted to approve the monument as the class gift. Of the approximately 750 students who voted, the monument received 44% of votes. A need-based scholarship for seniors came in second with 28%.

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