ST. LOUIS – Nearly two centuries later, the Dred Scott case still reverberates across St. Louis. The 1857
On May 26, 1857, Dred Scott and his wife, Harriet, appeared in the St. Louis Circuit Court and were formally freed after a decade-long fight for emancipation.
On Saturday morning, at the Calvary Cemetery in north St. Louis, a new monument was dedicated to mark Scott’s final resting place. Local activists felt Scott’s modest tombstone needed more to reflect the importance of his role in American history, and their efforts led to the new monument.
Dating back to 1846, Scott pursued a series of legal battles as a slave. Many years later, in the landmark pre-Civil War court case Dred Scott v. Sandford, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Scott was not entitled to freedom or protected by the Constitution, despite living in a free state of Missouri.
In 1857, Scott won his battle for freedom, but not through a court case. Scott was reacquired by the family that sold him in 1832, and that family authorized a “deed of emancipation” in his fight for freedom, per the Missouri State Archives.
In addition to the monument, the Old Missouri Courthouse is planning to dedicate a new exhibit to Dred and Harriet Scott when it plans to reopen in 2025.