Dred Scott was born into slavery in Virginia ca. 1799 and later his owner moved from Virginia, to Missouri, a slave state. He was then sold to Dr. John Emerson (who interestingly spent several years stationed at Ft. Snelling with Dred and Harriet Scott), a surgeon in the U.S. Army. Scott sued for his freedom based on the fact that he had been transported to and lived in free states/ territories and therefore should have been freed.
The case then went to the U.S. Supreme Court...where they ruled that:
- African Americans (slave or free) could never be U.S. citizens based on the Constitution.
- White men were entitled to own property...which included chattel slavery.
- The Missouri Compromise of 1820 was unconstitutional and that states did not have the power to decide slave or free state status.
- All of the United States was open to the ownership of slaves in "free" or "slave" territories.
How is this any different in 2015?
Four miles north of where Dred Scott is buried and over a century later Michael Brown was gunned down by police in Ferguson, Missouri...can you hear the echoes of the Dred Scott Case ringing in your ears?
We must ask...