This is a really interesting story. Here is a taste of Michael Miller’s piece at The Washington Post:
The humble sign in the sidewalk had often gone unnoticed, overshadowed by the giant Confederate statues towering over it in Charlottesville’s central Court Square.
But Thursday, the small plaque marking a century of slave auctions suddenly went missing, stirring consternation and controversy in a city already struggling with its history.
“It was disturbing,” said Jalane Schmidt, an associate professor of religious studies at the University of Virginia. “Although this slave auction plaque was so small and set in the ground and you could walk over it, it was the only thing we had to commemorate the slaves whose lives were torn apart there.”
Schmidt, who has advocated for the removal of Charlottesville’s Confederate statues, initially worried that the plaque had been taken to protest a proposed law that would allow cities in Virginia to remove offensive monuments.
Others feared that it was simply another racist gesture at the site of the 2017 Unite the Right rally, during which a neo-Nazi killed protester Heather Heyer.
Then something odd happened. The culprit publicly confessed.