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Mary talks at the Library of Congress

Let's talk about humbling experiences, because by all indications, Dred Scott was a humble man. He struggled to protect his family from the predations of slavery, and he did that quietly, respectfully—doggedly—seeking justice through one of the bulwarks of slavery itself: the judicial system.

One hundred fifty years after the US Supreme Court declared Dred Scott a piece of property with no rights a white man was bound to honor, I entered the Library of Congress to talk about my research and my book about Dred Scott. On March 6, 2007, with the humility I imagine Dred Scott may have felt walking into the Old Courthouse in St. Louis to mark his X on the petition that would begin his suit, I entered this great center of culture and learning. I felt honored to be among the many the Center for the Book has honored over the decades.

I spoke about what I had learned about this remarkable man and his times, and I spoke about how my research shaped the character of Dred Scott I would write about. It's a long presentation, too long for many I suspect, so here is an index of sorts to help you find the parts you're most interested in:

00:00

Dr. John Cole, Director of the Center for the Book, introduces me

01:10
I thank those who influenced and helped me

04:46
Explanation of the Sankofa symbol

06:12
Dred Scott and other US Supreme Court major cases; how courts are about protection of individual rights; Dred's anonymity

08:20
How I became hooked on Dred Scott's story

10:55
Where I found information; known facts from his birth until 1846

15:20
The case begins: what motivated the Scotts to seek freedom through the courts?

16:10
Who was Dred Scott? Part I: quotes from him

21:50
I read from Speak Right On, regarding books and stories

24:35
Who was Dred Scott? Part II: what we can learn from the case

31:30
The surprising aftermath of the Supreme Court ruling

34:00
I read from Speak Right On, regarding the ongoing significance of the Dred Scott story

36:05
I introduce Henry E. Autry, US District Judge for the Eastern District of Missouri

37:00
Judge Autry speaks about his personal and professional views of the case and of Dred Scott

42:50
Judge Autry reads from Speak Right On, regarding the Scotts hearing the news about the Supreme Court's decision

53:00
John Cole introduces Jerry McCoy, founder of the Silverspring, Maryland, Historical Society

54:00
Jerry McCoy reads comments prepared by Richard Hollyday, descendant of Montgomery Blair

1:01:00
Lynne Jackson, the great-great-granddaughter of Dred and Harriet Scott, speaks via video

1:12:10
John Cole's concluding remarks

Why does Dred Scott remain relevant today?
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Thursday, 21 September 2017
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