2021-March-06

Mark your calendars on March 6th for a Harriet & Dred Scott adventure hunt; the Old Courthouse in downtown Saint Louis is a good starting point. March 6th is the anniversary of the preposterous Supreme Court decision in 1857 that decided “Any person descended from Africans, whether enslaved or free, is not a citizen of the United States.”

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For every action there is a reaction — the Supreme Court got it wrong and reaction to that judgement helped spark the Civil War. Your destination is the Harriet & Dred Scott sculpture that faces the Arch and the Mississippi River. It’s sitting on a slave auction site.

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The Old Courthouse in Saint Louis is a very majestic building and stands a living temple to the Rule of Law. It’s modeled after the Vatican and was built at the same time as the US Capitol in Washington. It’s free to visit and important for children to do so. Enter through front doors and explore the exhibits; kids especially like the underground railroad and finding the secret staircases that lead up to the top of the cupola. Here’s a previous adventure guide with clues on how best to do that:

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The Old Courthouse is incredibly grand and worthy of many repeat visits. Don’t forget to say hello to Harriet Scott, Lucy Delaney and Frankie Freedom on your way into the building, as women are often behind many successful struggles for freedom.

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Not far from the Old Courthouse is the home of Dred Scott’s lawyer, who was Eugene Field’s father, Roswell Field. Eugene Field was a poet who became famous for his children’s poems, notably Wynken, Blinken and Nod. Eugene Field loved toys, so the Field House also houses a toy collection and interesting toy exhibits.

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The Field Museum is located near the Old Courthouse but too far to walk; it’s fun to visit during the holidays to enjoy the home in full seasonal splendor, and maybe to pick up an old-fashioned wind-up toy to add to your collection.

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The tour of the home is quite interesting, but more suited for older children as are the changing exhibits, including the exhibits on Dred Scott and Saint Louis history. It’s sort of dear to know that Saint Louis children collected pennies to help save this historic home for posterity.

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Your third destination on the Harriet and Dred Scott adventure hunt is Calvary Cemetery, where Dred Scott and Harriet Scott are buried. Their grave-sites were hard to find in the past, and can still be hard to find, which makes it a worthy adventure hunt. Dred Scott’s new gravestone makes the hunt a little easier. See section 19 on the Calvary Map:

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Many people bring pennies to leave as an offering; place them Abe Lincoln side up!

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March 6th is a great day to go on a Harriet and Dred Scott adventure hunt, or any day for that matter. They say Saint Louis is the most fascinating city in America, it’s also an important city, a historic city, a legendary city. Be sure to bring your pennies with you and then share the wealth with others.

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Speaking of pennies, there’s a penny drive to help pay off the balance of the Harriet and Dred Scott statue recently installed near the Old Courthouse. There are 22 more sites you can visit on your Harriet & Dred Scott adventure hunt!

Dred Scott Heritage Foundation