Dred Scott: Having The Courage to Fight The System

Dred Scott was a slave and a social activist who served several different slave masters before making history by starting a legal battle that would change the course of history. In 1832, after his owner Peter Blow died, Mr. Scott would spend time in two free states working for his new master an army surgeon, Dr. John Emerson.

Shortly after getting married, Dred Scott attempted to sue for the freedom of him and his family. He would base his claim on the fact that he spent time in the free state of Illinois with Dr. John Emerson, therefore deserving to be emancipated. The now-famous case, Dred Scott versus Sanford case, which took place in 1857, was a landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court.

The court decided that no black, free or slave could claim U.S. citizenship, and therefore blacks couldn’t petition for their freedom. This decision would upset the abolitionists of the time, as well as cause a riff between both political parties. Even though Dred Scott would lose his court case, his situation highlighted how far we still needed to go as a people.

So when we look at the racial bias that takes place in courtrooms around this country, its nothing new. It’s important to understand that there are some deep-rooted, race-based, policies and procedures that control the very fabric of this nation.  









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