Dred and Harriet Scott Statue Dedication
On June 8th, 2012, the Dred Scott Heritage Foundation, the National Parks Service, and master sculptor Harry Weber were incredibly proud to unveil a statue of Dred and Harriet Scott on the south lawn of the Old Courthouse in downtown St. Louis. The Scotts are depicted standing close, holding their heads high, their eyes directed not only Arch-ward and across the Mississippi River, but toward a horizon of freedom in which they believed enough to one day finally see.
Mr. Weber was awarded the commission through the Foundation's blind competition in 2009. He and VMD Sculpting created a striking bronzememorial that clearly portrayed the unity of Dred and his wife, Harriet, who endured the eleven year ordeal with purpose and dignity.
Nearly three hundred people gathered on the steps and grounds of the Old Courthouse to witness the much-anticipated unveiling. In attendance were luminaries such as Francis Slay, mayor of St. Louis; Mark Shurtleff, attorney general of Utah and author of the Dred Scott novel Am I Not a Man?; Lewis Reed, president of the Board of Alderman; and family members, including Lynne Jackson's mother Marsulite, daughter Sherrie, brother Michael and sister Marcy and their families, and many cousins.
Also in attendance were numerous supporters from as far away as California, Utah, Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, Kentucky; Kansas City, Columbia, Marshfield, MO; Springfield and Lebanon, IL.
Pastor Ronald Bobo led the invocation; McGraw Milhaven, local radio celebrity, was master of ceremonies.
“[Dred and Harriet Scott's] brave actions set in motion the presidential candidacy of Abraham Lincoln, the Civil War, and three amendments to the United States Constitution,” Mayor Slay said. “This statue is a profile in courage, and an inspiration to all of us to stand up to injustice anywhere.”
Shurtleff spoke of the divine encouragement he received to write the story of Dred Scott, which led him to experience the places Dred and Harriet had been and come to know the source of their courage and convictions.
“When they came back here to this town, seeing on these steps women and children treated like animals, stripped, prodded; little ones torn away from the arms of their mothers—Dred said 'I am not going to let that happen. Somehow, somewhere, this building means more than that. There's justice, and I'm going to fight until I get it.'”
Dred Scott Madison, Jr., great-great-grandson of Dred and Harriet, spoke fondly of his cousin Lynne Jackson, who has worked countless hours without complaint toward the aims of the Foundation since its creation in 2006.
“I have often told her she's doing God's work, and she is, just as our great-great-grandmother and grandfather did. They dared to defy man's law and represent God's law. This is truly a nation under God, something that could never have been while slavery was in existence.”
Jackson, Weber, Madison and Thomas Bradley, National Parks Service superintendent, pulled away the deep red cloak to reveal the statue to St. Louis, while flashbulbs added to the glare of afternoon sunlight. Standing at the right angle, one can view Dred and Harriet just to the left of the reflection of the Old Courthouse in the glass facade of the building across the street.
A reception was held at Bryan Cave LLP law firm. Partner Ken Mallin, co-chaired the event with Lynne Jackson. Chairman Don Lents welcomed and greeted the guests speaking of the importance of the Dred Scott case and the new statue.
Ms. CheyOnna Sewell, coordinator of Young Friends of Dred Scott and Mr. Troy Hamilton, Public Relations, Intern, UCM, were on hand to help coordinate the events of the day.
A Very Special Thank You
This day would not have been possible without……………
The exceptional support and devotion of Mrs. Chanin Paxton, board member and administrative assistant to Lynne Jackson, her tireless devotion is unparalleled. Along with her other duties, she and Mrs. Jackson maintain the website, originally designed by Mark Scott Carroll, graphic designer.
Harry Weber, Bronze Fox Studio; Vladimir Zhitomirsky, VMD Sculpting; Construction and installation of the statue podium (plinth) which was made possible by the following: McCarthy Building Companies (Mark Smith, Mark Weiss and Dustin Roberts), KPFF Consulting Engineers, Rosch Companies, McFry Excavating, Geotechnology, Inc., Rebar Specialist Inc., Wilson Concrete, Vee-Jay Cement, and Budrovich, Inc; Thomas Bradley and Frank Mares, National Park Service.
It was a wonderful and blessed day!