Redemption Songs: Suing for Freedom before Dred Scott

Book Reviews

Alfred L. Brophy, Slaves as Plantiffs PDF icon Michigan Law Review

Annette Gordon-Reed, PDF icon Harvard Law School

Margaret M. Russell, California Lawyer

Martha S. Jones, PDF icon University of Michigan

More data on the St. Louis Freedom Suits

Many of the litigants in the freedom suits were family members.  To see a chart of the composite families, File click here .

Although the case files have been posted on the web,Microsoft Office document icon click here, many case files do not record the lawsuit’s final disposition.  For that information, one must look to the court’s day book which logs the daily proceedings of all cases.  To see entries about the freedom suits from the court daybook, click here.

Like Suzette and John Merry, Redemption Songs, Chapter 6, another slave in Beauvais-Jarrot's probate was Pelagie Vital Amoureux, who remained on the Missouri side of the river.  Pelagie also used the courts, the courts in Ste. Genevieve.  For more information on Pelagie Vital Amoureux, see

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Ohio and Mississippi River Valleys, 1840