In 1857, a Supreme Court Justice declared that Black people “had no rights which the white man was bound to respect.” But Harriet Robinson Scott and her husband Dred didn’t care about respect, they were concerned for their family, and they were willing to do anything to protect it.
That court justice’s statement was a decision made in the Scott v Sandford, where Harriet and Dred Scott originally sued their slave owners because they were living in an area where slavery should be prohibited. While the Supreme Court decision didn’t have a great ending, the couple’s fight empowered many.
Determined to protect their children from slavery, the family spent multiple years fighting for their freedom and didn’t give up, even when their cases were delayed many times. The Scott family’s saga captured the attention of the nation and set the stage for one of the most turbulent times in U.S. history.
The court case decision sparked a national uproar and the American Civil War. This couple’s fight for freedom wasn’t just for themselves, but for Black people around the country.
The Scott family’s determination shows that small acts of resistance can lead to strong movements against injustice. We can all make acts of resistance towards anti-Blackness. The more we do it, no matter how little it feels to us, the stronger we become.