The year 2007 marks the 150th anniversary of one of the most important legal
battles in the history
of the United States. In 1846, Dred Scott, an enslaved
African American, sued for his freedom and
the freedom of his wife, Harriett.
Scott achieved legal victory in St. Louis, but appeals and court reversals
brought the issue before the Supreme Court of the United States, which ruled
was not a citizen due to his race. Therefore, in the eyes of our
nation’s highest court, Scott lacked
the right to sue.
owner of Dred Scott freed Scott and his wife. Scott did not bask in
his long-sought freedom; he died in St. Louis in 1858, nine months after
being freed. The case of Dred Scott v. Sanford was far more than one man’s quest for
freedom for himself and his wife. The outcome of
the case heightened tension
between abolitionists and supporters of slavery and precipitated the Civil
War. The legal decision influenced the nomination and eventual election of
to the United States presidency, which in turn led to the
South’s secession from the Union.
Throughout 2007, St. Louis will commemorate Dred and Harriet Scott’s
decade-long legal struggle
for freedom with exhibitions, educational
programming, tours, theatrical performances and re-enactments of the
legendary trial. This site will provide in-depth information on the
trials and information on upcoming events.