More than a decade ago, a man who identified himself as a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans told me in a crudely written email that I should leave the South — my home for nearly my entire life — after I wrote a critical column on“Silent Sam,” UNC-Chapel Hill’s Confederate statue and perennial controversy. That man’s apparently scalding contempt for me, mirrored by dozens of others who shredded me for the same column, wasa lesson. If you tell others your opinion, or if you report on a topic so laden with bitter history, expect others to share their opinion, too — and not always in a respectful tone. These types of stories are currency in this industry, proof that you’ve been in the thick of it. But not once can I recall a time in which I was threatened with physical harm for my work. I didn’t think this so odd until a recent conversation with some longtime colleagues, in which it became clear that most had received some form of death threat. Under President Trump, once again, I’m learning a lesson.

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