FREDERICKSBURG — A 176-year-old stone block that was used for slave auctions in Fredericksburg will soon go on display at a museum, with signs explaining the context of recent protests against racial injustice that left it covered in graffiti.
The block sat for nearly two centuries in downtown Fredericksburg until the city removed it recently. Now, it’s on loan to the Fredericksburg Area Museum, which will put it on display by mid-November with the graffiti still intact.
Sara Poore, the museum’s president and CEO, said visitors will have the option to see the actual stone or just an image of it, and there will be “clear signage that indicates the tone of the graffiti.”
“We will also discuss the recent events and the impact the stone has/had on the conversation. It is our goal to use the stone as a springboard for community conversations,” she said.
The city pulled the 800-pound marker from the ground in June after its removal was delayed for months by lawsuits and the pandemic. The stone was sprayed with graffiti, and chants of “move the block” erupted during local demonstrations over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, city officials said.
A local chapter of the NAACP called for the stone’s removal in 2017, saying it was a relic of “a time of hatred and degradation” that should not be displayed along a main thoroughfare.