During the month of February we focus our attention on famous black Americans as we celebrate black history month. When I think of them many come to mind. That makes it hard to choose just three from the powerful list. After reading several biographies the three that stuck out in my mind were Dred Scott, Harriet Tubman, Halle Berry.
Dred Scott is known for suing for his freedom. According to the Missouri Compromise when his master traveled to Illinois (free state) for four years as an army surgeon, he brought Scott with him and Scott was suppose to be free. The court ruled that residence in a free state did not automatically make a slave free. In the meantime, Dr.Emerson (his master) died and his wife became Scott's owner. She remarried abolitionist Calvin C. Chaffe of Massachusetts. He did not want to be known as a slave owner so Scott tried to bring his suit in federal court, out the Supreme Court decided against Scott because he was black and definitely not a citizen of Missouri. (his hometown) As set out by the Constitution, he had no rights in federal courts, temporary residence in a free state did not make a slave free and the Missouri Compromise was unconstitutional. This limited the power of congress to include slavery from any Northwest Territories that would subsequently apply for admission in the Union.
The daughter of Harriet Greene and Benjamin Rass, who were not permitted to marry legally under the law s of slavery, Harriet Tubman lived a brutal childhood. She was often referred to as "stupid" and received standard whippings regarly. At 13 she was injured by her master, and as a result suffered from occasional blackouts for the rest of her life. At about age 25 she and her brothers planned an escape, but her brothers backed out at the last minute and left Tubman, not being able to read or write the leader of about 300 slaves escaping for freedom. Now she is referred to as the "conductor" of the Underground Railroad, making 19 trips back to the south leading different groups of slaves to the north's freedom.