The Fredericksburg Area Museum will showcase the 1,600-pound stone block in a special exhibit.
A museum in Fredericksburg, Virginia, will permanently house the Slave Auction Block that once stood in the city's downtown. The landmark, which was torn down last year, will reside at the Fredericksburg Area Museum, which explores American culture through the lens of art and history.
The historical artifact was located in Downtown Fredericksburg for over 170 years as a hub for slave auctions. The museum discovered that hundreds of enslaved people, some as young as 15, were sold in 18 auctions from 1847 to 1862 at the corner of William and Charles Streets. Its public display garnered scrutiny from organizations like the NAACP, who urged the city to take it down. It was finally uprooted last June following mass protests that took place in the aftermath of George Floyd's murder.
The 1,600-pound block is currently displayed on the museum's first floor, where it will stay there until the construction of its permanent exhibit space is completed. According to the Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star, a sign is posted warning visitors of the graffiti covering it. Museum President and CEO Sara Poore said it will stay in its original state to avoid damaging the monument, as well as further contextualizing its history for future generations.
“We look at the auction block as a springboard for future conversations as to where we’ve been, and the struggles of slavery, but also the rising and the incredible accomplishments of the African American community," she told the paper. In addition to the block, the exhibit will also feature paraphernalia from recent civil rights protests and artifacts from the Jim Crow era.
If you'd like to see it in person, you can visit the museum's website for more info.
What do you think of the Fredericksburg Area Museum's decision to house the landmark? Let us know in the comments.