VanderVelde discusses Dred Scot decision at U.S. Supreme Court

VanderVelde discusses Dred Scot decision at U.S. Supreme Court

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Lea VanderVelde
Lea VanderVelde

University of Iowa law professor Lea VanderVelde will lecture about the infamous Dred Scot decision today, Thursday, May 1, when she speaks in the chambers of the United States Supreme Court.

In her lecture, “Dred Scot in Context,” VanderVelde will focus on what made the case tick, from its inception through the United States Supreme Court decision, dispelling notions that it was purely an ideological set-up, or that it was a classic man in chains versus slave master with whip controversy. She will explore who the litigants really were and how and why they turned to the courts.

She is appearing as a guest of the Supreme Court Historical Society and will be introduced by Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg.

VanderVelde has published widely about the Dred Scot case and the general issue of slaves suing for their freedom before the Civil War. In 2009, she published “Mrs. Dred Scot,” a biography of Dred’s wife Harriet, which explored the family’s dynamics and motivations for the lawsuit.

In May, she will publish “Redemption Songs,” an analysis of about 300 lawsuits filed by Missouri slaves against their masters seeking their freedom before the Civil War.

The lecture is part of the historical society’s Leon Silverman series.


Tom Snee, University Communication and Marketing, office: 319-384-0010; cell: 319-541-8434


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