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"In Memory of a Simple Man Who Wanted to Be Free" | by Hilary (curioush)
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"In Memory of a Simple Man Who Wanted to Be Free"

Dred Scott first went to trial to sue for his freedom in 1847 [at the Old Courthouse in St. Louis].


Ten years later, after a decade of appeals and court reversals, his case was finally brought before the United States Supreme Court.


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, needless to say, remained a slave....


The decision of the court was read in March of 1857. Chief Justice Roger B. Taney -- a staunch supporter of slavery -- wrote the "majority opinion" for the court. It stated that because Scott was black, he was not a citizen and therefore had no right to sue.


The decision also declared the Missouri Compromise of 1820, legislation which restricted slavery in certain territories, unconstitutional.


While the decision was well-received by slaveholders in the South, many northerners were outraged. The decision greatly influenced the nomination of Abraham Lincoln to the Republican Party and his subsequent election, which in turn led to the South's secession from the Union.


Peter Blow's [Scott's first "master"'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.


Dred Scott died nine months later.


Text from the PBS web site , where there is more detail on the case


Calvary Cemetery


North St. Louis, Missouri, USA.


This cemetery is also final resting place to:


General William Tecumseh Sherman


"The Awakening" author Kate Chopin


Dr. Tom Dooley


designers Charles and Ray Eames


Tennessee Williams


and numerous others


This shot is from a recent St. Louis Flickr outing.


Also see shots from:







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Taken on October 1, 2005