Dred and Harriet Scott in Minnesota

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The Minnesota Historical Society preserves and makes available a wide range of materials chronicling Minnesota's history and culture. The goals of the Collections Department are to collect and preserve; provide access and interpretation; and engage in education and outreach. This blog is a tool to share these stories and let people know what is happening in the department.

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Dred and Harriet Scott in Minnesota

By: Anonymous (not verified) | Item of the Day | March 6, 2023

On this day in 1857, the US Supreme Court issued its infamous "Dred Scott" decision (in a case also involving Harriet Scott, wife of Dred) which held that African Americans—enslaved and free—were not citizens “within the meaning of the Constitution.” Because of this, they did not have the right to sue for their freedom after living enslaved at Fort Snelling in the technically free Minnesota territory, among other places. The decision was a major event in the years leading up to the Civil War.

Learn more about Dred and Harriet Scott in Minnesota here: https://www.mnopedia.org/event/dred-and-harriet-scott-minnesota

Images are engravings held in the MNHS collection:
Dred Scott: http://collections.mnhs.org/cms/display?irn=10608229
Harriet Scott: http://collections.mnhs.org/cms/display?irn=10608228