FREDERICKSBURG, Va. (AP) – A 176-year-old stone block used for slave auctions in Virginia will be on display at the Fredericksburg Area Museum, with signs explaining the context of recent protests against racial injustice covering it in graffiti.
The knee-high stone block stood in the center of Fredericksburg for nearly two centuries until the city recently removed it. Now it’s on loan to the museum, which will be on display in mid-November, with the graffiti still intact, The Free Lance-Star reported Sunday.
Sara Poore, the museum’s president and CEO, said visitors have the option of seeing the stone or just an image of it, and that there is “clear signage indicating the tone of the graffiti.”
“We will also discuss recent events and the impact the stone has / had on the conversation,” said Poore. “Our goal is to use the stone as a springboard for community discussion.”
The city pulled the 800-pound (363-kilogram) marker off the ground in June after its removal was delayed for months by lawsuits and the coronavirus pandemic.
The weathered stone was sprayed with graffiti and local demonstrations about George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis were chants of “move the block,” city officials said.
A local branch of the NAACP called for the stone to be removed in 2017, saying it was a relic of “a time of hatred and humiliation” that should not be displayed along a main road.