WISE COUNTY, Va. (WJHL) – Police are investigating the disappearance of a memorial marker outlining instances of lynching in Wise County.
According to a social media post from the Wise County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO), a plaque titled “Lynching in America” was reported missing on Friday by the Wise County/City of Norton Community Remembrance Coalition.
The memorial honored the victims of racial lynching in Virginia and Wise County and was originally dedicated in late September.
“Lynching emerged as the most public and notorious form of racial terrorism, intended to intimidate Black people and reinforce racial hierarchy and segregation.” the marker said when it was still in place. “Many African Americans were lynched for exercising economic freedoms, perceived violations of social customs and accusations of crimes.”
The remembrance coalition released a statement on Monday, stating that the sign represented a state-wide effort to memorialize history. Rather than wait for its return, however, the organization plans to move ahead.
“We see this crime as a minor setback to our efforts,” the coalition said. “And we will begin the process of securing a replacement sign.”
Before ever installing the memorial, the coalition said resolutions were obtained from every Wise County town, the City of Norton and the Wise County Board of Supervisors.
Anyone with information on the memorial’s disappearance is encouraged to contact WCSO investigators at 276-328-3566 or to call 911 in an emergency.