Following a vote by officials, a structure that used to be a slave market in the former capital of Georgia is set to be removed. The city council in Louisville, Ga., voted Tuesday to move the building the Old Market House – located in the middle of the small towns downtown area.
The Old Market House in Louisville, which was built around 1795, is an open-air, covered pavilion where enslaved people were sold alongside land and other household goods. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Last month, the Louisville city council established a 14-member advisory committee for the Old Market House and it initially voted on a removal proposal, according to WJBF.
The advisory received 70 letters about the structure; 42 of those voted in favor of removing the Market House, and 16 others voted to have it stay.
I just want for everyone to come together, Nikki Tarver of the advisory committee told WJBF. I want for downtown to be a place that everyone loves and right now its not. So I feel like, for our future generations and our current generations, we have to do something. And now is the time. We have this platform and now is the perfect time to use it.
Some community members were against the idea of removing the structure, with one man saying, “Youre coming up here saying it’s a slave market and it’s not. Its a building with social events,” according to WJBF.
A petition which was started in June to remove the structure has been signed nearly 5,000 times.
At the moment, it is unclear where the structure will be moved and what will replace it as well as if there will be restrictions on its removal.
“Since our last committee meeting, issues concerning legal right-of-way have been posed; and state Sen. Jesse Stone requested the State’s Attorney General to offer an opinion on the legality of moving this historic structure,” Lillian Easterlin, executive administrative director of Jefferson County, told CNN.
The plan now is to establish a museum where the Market House could be permanently displayed.
The Trans-Atlantic slave trade which spanned 400 years saw many black people transported from Africa and sent to the Americas including the U.S. to work on plantations. Before and after leaving the continent, these slaves were often sent to slave markets where they were auctioned and sold.
Today, many of these slave markets have been obscured or even totally buried by other buildings.