Unity Day Tour (copy)

Liz Marshall guides a tour starting near the slave auction block in Court Square in July. The auction marker and other historic markers were discovered missing last week.

CHARLOTTESVILLE (AP)—A plaque marking the site of slave auctions was reported missing and vandalism was found nearby in a Virginia city where a deadly white nationalist rally was held in 2017.

An employee with WVIR–TV told police Thursday that one of the two markers in Charlottesville’s Court Square had been removed, the TV station reported, and the city confirmed the disappearance in a news release from city spokesman Brian Wheeler.

The marker was built into a sidewalk and had recently been criticized for being illegible, The Daily Progress reported.

A light pole nearby was marked with a “1619,” which was written with what appears to be dirt from beneath the location of the marker, the news release said. The number signifies the first year Africans were brought to Virginia as slaves.

Police said Thursday that it was unclear whether the sidewalk plaque was taken “for protection” or if it was stolen.

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