FREDRICKSBURG, Va. – An NAACP chapter is asking a Virginia city to move a slave auction block from its downtown.
The knee-high stone block sits at a site where enslaved people were bought and sold in Fredericksburg.
The Free Lance-Star reported Thursday that the stone has been stepped on, spit on, had cigarettes put out on it and even had people stand on it for photographs. The NAACP's Fredricksburg branch is calling for the block to be replaced by a historical panel.
"It is a relic of time gone by_a time of hatred and degradation_on a main thoroughfare of our city," a statement from the NAACP says. "Our beloved City should not allow such behavior to continue."
Fredericksburg's City Council members want to hear what residents think as councilmembers decide the future of what a plaque describes as "Fredericksburg's Principal Auction Site in Pre-Civil War Days for Slaves and Property."
The council will hold a public forum on the issue Saturday morning at a local high school.
City officials want comments on two possible paths forward. One envisions adding interpretive panels and protective measures to the site. Another would move the block, possibly to a museum, and replace it with a historical marker. A sign would offer directions to its new location.
Information from: The Free Lance-Star, http://www.fredericksburg.com/