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Feb 21, 2019

In the Shadow of Dred Scott: St. Louis Freedom Suits and the Legal Culture of Slavery in Antebellum America

In her groundbreaking work, "In the Shadow of Dred Scott: St. Louis Freedom Suits and the Legal Culture of Slavery in Antebellum America," Dr. Kelly M. Kennington draws on the casefiles of more than 300 enslaved individuals who, like Dred Scott and his family, sued for freedom in St. Louis. As a gateway to the American west, a major port on both the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers and a focal point in the bitter national debate over slavery’s expansion, the city was an ideal place for enslaved individuals to challenge the legal systems and, by extension, the social systems that held them in forced servitude. Kennington offers an in-depth look at how daily interactions, webs of relationships and arguments presented in court shaped and reshaped legal debates and attitudes over slavery and freedom in St. Louis. Join us as Kennington discusses these historic suits, placing them in a broader national context and shedding light on the ways in which they influenced the national conversation on slavery.


Time: 7:00 8:00 pm

Location: Missouri State Archives, 600 W. Main St.

Cost: Free

Contact: For more information, contact Tracy Wegman at tracy.wegman@sos.mo.gov or 573-526-5296

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