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JEFFERSON CITY — State Sen. Steven Roberts, D-St. Louis, took part in the historic “Freedom Suits Memorial” unveiling in St. Louis on Monday, where he presented a Senate resolution honoring the momentous occasion.

The “Freedom Suits Memorial” showcases the approximately 400 slaves and their lawyers who sued for freedom in Missouri between the state’s founding and the Emancipation Proclamation. Among the cases were Dred and Harriet Scott, who won their case in 1846 based on the “Once Free, Always Free” Doctrine before the decision was overturned by the Missouri Supreme Court in 1852. The case would later be upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in the infamous Dred Scott v. Sanford (1857) case, considered a major precursor to the U.S. Civil War.

“Before the marches and battlefields, there was the courtroom and the Freedom Suits ready and willing to ignite the spark for freedom in Black America,” Sen. Roberts said. “I am a Black lawyer today standing in the very spot of those who paved the way for me. They were giants. Thank you Freedom Suits for lighting that spark.”

The “Freedom Suits Memorial” is located on the east plaza of the Civil Courts Building on 11th Street in St. Louis City.

For more information, please contact Sen. Roberts’ office at 573-751-4415.


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