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Dred Scott was a slave and social activist who served several masters before suing for his freedom. His case made it to the Supreme Court (Dred Scott v. Sandford) prior to the American Civil War.
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Too controversial to retain the Scotts as slaves after the trial, Mrs. Emerson remarried and returned Dred Scott and his family to the Blows who granted them their freedom in May 1857. That same month, Frederick Douglass delivered a speech discussing the Dred Scott decision on the anniversary of the American Abolition Society.
Eventually, the 13th and 14th amendments to the Constitution overrode this Supreme Court ruling.
Dred Scott and his family stayed in St. Louis after his emancipation, and he found work as a porter in a local hotel. But after only a little more than a year of true freedom, Scott died from tuberculosis on September 17, 1858.
Dred Scott is buried in the Calvary Cemetery in St. Louis (Harriet survived him by 18 years and is buried in Hillsdale, Missouri). Putting pennies (displaying the face of President Lincoln) on Scott's headstone has become a local tradition over the decades. The commemorative marker next to the headstone reads: "In Memory Of A Simple Man Who Wanted To Be Free."
In 1997, Dred Scott and his wife Harriet were admitted to the St. Louis Walk of Fame.
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