Wednesday, November 12, 2008


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The majestic Old Courthouse has remained over the past 150 years as one of St. Louis' most prominent architectural landmarks and lightning rod for two historic Civil Rights lawsuits.

In 1846 slave Dred Scott sued for his freedom in the building based on the fact that they had lived in free states. All of the trials including a Missouri Supreme Court hearing were held in the building. The case was to ultimately be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1856 Dred Scott v. Sandford which ruled against him in 1856. The decision was to polarize sides in the run up to the American Civil War.

In the 1872 Virginia Minor attempted to vote in a St. Louis election and was arrested. Her trials including the deliberations before Missouri Supreme Court were held in the building. The case was eventually appealed to the United States Supreme Court in Minor v. Happersett which upheld the male only voting rules.

Read the personal significance and historical meaning of the Old Courthouse to local community activist Flowing [Margaret Johnson].

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