Becoming Equal Under the Law – A Quest for Freedom

Becoming Equal Under the Law – A Quest for Freedom


My great-great-grandfather
was born on a plantation in Southampton, Virginia. He was born to the Blow family. They eventually
moved to St. Louis. At this point, they had debts. And they had to sell
something to cure those debts. My great-great-grandfather was
purchased by an Army surgeon. The slave is taken into the
Wisconsin Territory, in what is now Minnesota. And he met and
married a young lady. Slaves were prohibited,
actually, to marry, so it’s pretty special that they
actually had a wedding. Brought back to St.
Louis with his family. At that point, he
had something unique. Missouri had a law that
said once free, always free. And Wisconsin territory is
“free soil” – no slavery. If a slaveholder were to take
a slave and live in the North, then that slave
would be liberated. They were no longer a slave. But their owner
refuses to free them. And in 1846, the slaves
enter this courtroom to seek their freedom. At first, it was just about
their family, but ultimately it was about a nation. And my ancestor was Dred Scott. A jury of twelve white men set
Dred and Harriet Scott free. It was a wonderful day,
but it was short-lived. Scott’s owner
appeals the verdict.

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