CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - As the city of Charlottesville works to memorialize a corner where slaves were sold, community members have taken action. Back on February 5, dozens gathered to unveil a temporary, citizen-placed marker to honor the tragedies that occurred at the Court Square corner.
However, that marker was removed Tuesday morning.
“They informed us that the new city manager had directed that the marker be taken away,” said Richard “Freeman” Allan, an activist who was among the people to put up the marker in February.
Allan is talking about Chip Boyles, the new city manager who has been on the job for barely more than two weeks.
“We had all chipped in $300 and created a small, suitable marker,” said Allan. “Its wording was exactly what the Historic Resources Committee had stated they felt was appropriate for a temporary marker.”
The city confirmed with NBC29 it was removed at Boyles’ direction because “obstructing any portion of a city sidewalk (such as placing and leaving privately-owned objects in a sidewalk area) is unlawful and you could face criminal misdemeanor penalties.”
Boyles went on to say that only City Council may authorize the placement of historical markers in a public street.
Allan has a history with the corner. Last year he was charged with two felonies for removing a placard in the ground, which started the dialogue for how the site should be honored.
“These people deserve to be memorialized and honored,” said Allan.
Boyles says the sign is being stored in a secure location and will be returned once Allan shows documentation that he is the owner of the sign. Allan says he still wants to work with the city and its Historic Resources Committee.
“We want to collaborate and honor the people who were who passed through this sacred corner,” said Allan.
In an email, Boyles also said that the city “continues to work with the Historic Resources Committee to develop a permanent sign to place at that location upon the City Council’s approval.”