Dred Scott (c. 1799 – September 17, 1858) The Dred Scott decision (Dred Scot v. Sanford) was handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court on March 6, 1857. It was decided 7-2 against Scott. Chief Justice Roger B. Taney delivered the decision, the majority opinion. The ruling was hailed by the Southern States and caused anger in the North. People of African descent didn’t have the right to challenge a law in the United States because they were not citizens. Whether free or slave.
Dred Scott was the slave of a U. S. Army surgeon, John Emerson of Missouri, a state that permitted slavery. In 1834, Scott traveled with Emerson to live in Illinois, where slavery was prohibited. They later lived in the Wisconsin territory.
In 1836 Emerson and Scott moved to Minnesota, slavery was prohibited by the Missouri Compromise. Scott married Harriet Robinson, who was also a slave. In 1846, after Emerson died, Scott sued Emerson’s widow to gain freedom for himself, his wife Harriet, and their two children. In January of 1850, a jury of 12 White men on the St. Louis Circuit Court concluded that Scott’s two years of residence in a free state and a free territory made him free. However, in 1852 the Missouri Supreme Court reversed this decision, claiming that due to Northern hostility toward slavery, Missouri would no longer recognize federal or state laws that might have emancipated Scott.
In 1854 Scott turned to the federal courts and renewed his quest for freedom in the U. S. Circuit Court in Missouri. Scott’s owner at this time was Emerson’s brother-in-law, John F. A. Sanford, who argued that Blacks could never be citizens of the United States and therefore could never sue in federal court. Federal Judge Robert Wells ruled that if Scott was free he was entitled to sue in federal court as a citizen. However, after a trial Wells decided Scott was still a slave.
For the first time in history, each of the nine justices on the court wrote an opinion in the same case, explaining their various positions on the court’s decision. Chief Justice Taney’s 54-page majority opinion of the court had wide-ranging effects. In it he argued that free Blacks—even those who could vote in the states where they lived—could never be U. S. citizens. At the time some or all adult Black males could vote in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, and New York, and Blacks had held public office in Ohio and Massachusetts. Nevertheless, Taney declared that even if a Black was a citizen of a state “It does not by any means follow… that he must be a citizen of the United States.” Taney based this unprecedented legal argument entirely on race.
Many historians count this case as one of many that drove the country toward Civil War. The case had far reaching affects. It overturned the Missouri Compromise and was a catalyst for the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863.
Dred Scott died a free man. Hew was set free by Henry Blow. Blow owned Scott and his family by marriage. When he returned to Missouri and being an opponent to slavery, set the four Scott family members free on May 26, 1857.
Buried in near St. Louis, Scott’s grave is frequently covered with Lincoln pennies, a tradition.
Black Firsts Quiz - Part 1
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10 Questions Regarding the First Accomplishments of Black Americans
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Question 1 of 10
What was the first newspaper owned and operated by African-Americans?Correct
Freedom Journal; the first African-American owned and operated newspaper published in the United States. It was based in New York City. Founded on this day (March 16, 1827; the first issue).
Question 2 of 10
What was the first college owned and operated by African-Americans?Correct
Founded in 1856, Wilberforce can trace its orgins to a period before the Civil War. Wilberforce University is a private, coed liberal arts historically black university (HBCU) located in Wilberforce, Ohio. The University is named to honor the the abolitionist, William Wilberforce. He was a leader in the movement to stop the slave trade. Wilberforce worked for 26 years to get the Slave Act of 1807 passed in England.Incorrect
Question 3 of 10
Who was the first African-American to vote in an election in the United States?Correct
Due to the passage of the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (1870 ), Thomas Peterson of New Jersey cast a vote.Incorrect
Question 4 of 10
Who was the first African-American commissioned officer of the United States Military?Correct
Henry Ossian Flipper (March 21, 1856 – May 3, 1940); Flipper was the first African-American to graduate from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York.Incorrect
Question 5 of 10
The First African-American to earn a doctorate degree from Harvard University.Correct
Question 6 of 10
First African-American to be invited to dine at the White House?Correct
Booker T. Washington, “Up From Slavery”Incorrect
Question 7 of 10
Who was the First African-American heavyweight boxing champion?Correct
Jack Johnson, the first African American and first Texan to win the heavyweight boxing championship of the world, was born the second of six children to Henry and Tiny Johnson in Galveston on March 31, 1878…read moreIncorrect
Question 8 of 10
Who was the first African-American to win an Olympic Gold Medal?Correct
John Baxter Taylor, Jr. competed at the 1908 summer Olympics in London. He ran the third leg in the men’s 1600 meter relay.Incorrect
Question 9 of 10
Who was the firs African-American woman millionaire?Correct
Question 10 of 10
Who was the first African-American to be appointed a justice to the United States Supreme court?Correct
On June 13, 1967, President Johnson nominated Marshall to the Supreme Court. In a 69-11 vote on August 30, 1967, Marshall became the 96th justice and first African-American of the United States Supreme Court…read moreIncorrect
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