Born: 1800-XX-XX Southampton County, Virginia
Died: 1858-09-17 Saint Louis, Missouri
Dred Scott was born into slavery under the ownership of Peter Blow. Blow's family briefly relocated to Huntsville and Florence in Alabama before finally settling in St. Louis, Missouri in 1830. Shortly thereafter, Blow sold Scott to John Emerson, an army surgeon. Emerson's military career led him to relocate with the enslaved people he owned to various places, most significantly posts in Illinois and the Wisconsin Territory. This extended period of residence in free states became the foundation for the landmark case, Scott v. Sandford, in which Scott unsuccessfully sued for his freedom. The case became a major event in the growing sectional crisis of the 1850s.
Aside from Scott's involvement in
Walter Ehrlich, "Scott, Dred," American National Biography, ed. by John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), 19:487-89; Walter Ehrlich, They Have No Rights: Dred Scott's Struggle for Freedom (Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1979); Don E. Fehrenbacher, The Dred Scott Case: Its Significance in American Law and Politics (New York: Oxford University Press, 1978).