Fredericksburg is saturated with Black history. A Slave Auction Block remains on the corner of William and Charles Streets, a sad reminder of a thriving business. The diary of a literate enslaved Black man, John Washington, recounts Union Soldiers standing on the far side of the Rappahannock River, calling to slaves to cross to their freedom. “A most memorable night it was when the soldiers assured me that I was a free man,” he wrote on April 18, 1862.Sandstone block was used for helping people mounted their horses – and for auctioning slaves.
The heart of Southern city business, circa 1850, Plaque at the upping stone reads: AUCTION BLOCK, Fredericksburg’s Principle Auction Site in Pre-Civil War Days for Slaves and Property, 1000 Charles Street, Fredericksburg, VA