Letters to the Editor

Guest viewpoint: Mark slavery’s end by funding Dred Scott statue

History knows no season. It is happening every moment and when you least expect it, special things happen. I just returned from Buffalo, New York, where I joined 10 other descendants of slave narrative authors. We met at the University of Buffalo to connect and communicate our ancestors’ histories and the journeys we have been on to share them.

My journey started in 1995. Back then, I was unaware I was preparing for the 150th anniversary of the Dred Scott Decision. That anniversary came on March 6, 2007. Eight years later and we will shortly be celebrating the 150th anniversary of the 13th Amendment that ended slavery in America.

On Dec. 5, the eve of that anniversary, the Dred Scott Heritage Foundation will honor several people with the first Dred Scott Freedom Awards at the historic Union Station, 1820 Market St. in St. Louis.

In 2007, the National Urban League convention was held in St. Louis. Marc H. Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League, proclaimed July 25, 2007, to be Dred Scott Day as part of their opening on the steps of the Old Courthouse. This was done in honor of the man and his wife, Harriet, whose courage furthered their case from that courthouse and on to the U.S. Supreme Court, hoping for an affirmed right to freedom. The outcome of their eventually combined cases would affect the nation. Their freedom was denied and the impact of that infamous decision contributed in great part along with other national issues to the inevitability of the Civil War. The victory of the North was further confirmed by the ratification of the 13th Amendment on Dec. 6, 1865.

Marc Morial graciously is serving as the honorary chairman of the Dred Scott Freedom Award Dinner and is an award recipient. The public is invited to join us for the Dred Scott Freedom Awards dinner. This historic event brings the Foundation full circle in commemorating the sesquicentennial events from 1857-1865.

As part of the commemorations, the Foundation erected the first statue of Dred and Harriet Scott, which stands on the east side of the Old Courthouse facing the Gateway Arch. The dinner is also a fundraiser in support of the final payment on the Dred Scott statue. This incredible artistic work was created and erected by master sculptor Harry Weber. We remain indebted to the many individuals and groups who will be acknowledged at the dinner for their roles in helping us make this dream come true as we also celebrate this milestone achievement.

Fourteen deserving local and national individuals will receive this first award. We invite you to support us by purchasing tickets or making a donation on our site at thedredscottfoundation.org, or buying tickets or donating by mail at DSFH, P. O. Box 2009 Florissant, MO 63032-2009. Dinner tickets are $100, VIP reception and dinner tickets are $150. For more information, contact our dinner chairman, Peggy Lewis LeCompte at 618-593-7196 or pllecompte@aol.com.

Lynne M. Jackson is the great-great granddaughter of Dred and Harriet Scott as well as the president and founder of the Dred Scott Heritage Foundation. You can reach her at lynne@thedredscottfoundation.org

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