I, Dred Scott

Author: Shelia Moses
Historical Fiction
My recommended reading age: 10 and up

Dred Scott was born a slave in the late 1700's.  Doomed to a life of servitude he was fortunate in that most of his owners were fairly kind to him.  He also formed friendships with some of his master's children which enabled him to sue for his freedom years later.  After residing with one of his owners in several northern (free) states, Dred Scott discovers that under the Missouri Compromise he is free. With the help of abolitionist lawyers he sues, and over the course of 11 years his case reaches the supreme court.  This book details the injustices of slavery and illustrates the details of one of the primary sparks that ignited the civil war. 

I picked this up on a whim at the library and found it to truly fascinating.  Having taken American history 20+ years ago in high school, the details of Dred Scott had magically disappeared from my memory, so it was great to read about this important decision in a more entertaining way than a text book.  There was nothing offensive in the book, but of course the whole subject of human servitude is disturbing, so I recommended it at the very least for upper level elementary kids.  This book provides a good basis for people of all ages who want a more detailed understanding of one of the causes of the civil war.


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