11 Thingz To Remember About Dred Scott’z Fight for Freedom


1. Dred Scott was owned by several owners before he tried to sue for his freedom in a Missouri Court.
2. Born into slavery in Southampton County, Virginia around 1799. It is unclear whether Dred was his given name or a shortened form of Etheldred.
3. In 1818, Peter Blow, the owner of Scott, took his six slaves to Alabama, where the family ran an unsuccessful farm in a location near Huntsville.
4. Sold to John Emerson, a surgeon serving in the United States Army. Blow died in 1832, and historians debate whether Scott was sold to Emerson before or after Blow’s death. Some believe that Scott was sold in 1831,
5. Sued for his freedom and that of his wife and their two daughters in the Dred Scott v. Sandford case of 1857, popularly known as the “Dred Scott Decision.”
6. Claimed that he and his wife should be granted their freedom because they had lived in Illinois and the Wisconsin Territory for four years, where slavery was illegal.
7. Case went all the way to the Supreme court where the ruling in Missouri for him along with his family was overturned.
8. The United States Supreme Court decided 7–2 against Scott. In what is perhaps the most infamous case in its history, the court decided that all people of African ancestry — slaves as well as those who were free — could never become citizens of the United States and therefore could not sue in federal court. The court also ruled that the federal government did not have the power to prohibit slavery in its territories. Scott, remained a slave.
9. Peter Blow’s sons, childhood friends of Scott, had helped pay Scott’s legal fees through the years. After the Supreme Court’s decision, the former master’s sons purchased Scott and his wife and set them free.
10. Died in 1858 from tuberculosis, shortly after being set free.
11. It is believed that his court case was part of what motivated the Emancipation Proclamation by Abraham Lincoln. In 1997, Dred and Harriet Scott were inducted into the St. Louis Walk of Fame.
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