Before Dred Scott:
Freedom Suits in Antebellum Missouri

Sites of Interest for Educators


Our Documents: A National Initiative on American History, Civics, and Service

This program, as introduced by President George W. Bush, serves the purpose of preserving the memory of 100 of the most crucial original documents in the history of the United States for students by placing them, along with historical information and resources for teachers, on one website. Documents such as the Missouri Compromise,Dred Scott v. Sanford, and the Kansas-Nebraska Act are all featured.

There is a link called the "Teacher’s Toolbox," which leads to the on-line Our Documents Teacher’s Sourcebook. This document is a practical resource for educators using documents in the classroom. It includes sample lesson plans.


National History Day

This is the official website for National History Day. It is a great resource for teachers, in that it has an in-depth description of the "Our Documents National History Day Competition," which is open to students in grades 6-12.


St. Louis Circuit Court Historical Records Project: Freedom Suits

After February 19th, this site will have more than 280 original slave freedom suits (1814 to 1860) available for research and review. Access is available through Secretary of State’s homepage. The site, which is in digital format, is the largest single collection of slave freedom suits available for researchers in the United States. A short film about the pursuit of freedom in St. Louis will also be on that site.


We the People—from the National Endowment for the Humanities

This site supports the National Endowment’s American History Initiative.


The Smithsonian

This site contains a search engine that allows educators to search for educational resources within the Smithsonian’s archives, including lesson plans.


American Memory—from the Library of Congress

American Memory: Historical Collections for the National Digital Library, a division of the Library of Congress, provides a helpful "Learning Page" among its resources.


The National Council for the Social Studies

On the NCSS website there is a link to "Educational Resources for Educators." Once there, educators will find the NCSS Teaching Resource Search Engine.


Landmark Supreme Court Cases

This is a very helpful site for educators. Its Dred Scott v. Sanford link contains, among other things, an analysis of political cartoons regarding the Dred Scott case, an eyewitness report, newspaper editorials on the decision, and President Lincoln’s speech on Dred Scott.



This "Educational Resources" homepage is provided by Newsweek and includes many different lesson plans for educators on both current and historical events.


Images of African-American Slavery and Freedom, The Library of Congress

Educators can find images from the "Prints and Photographs Division" of the Library of Congress on this site.


Slaves and the Courts, 1740-1860, "American Memory"

This "American Memory" site is a product of the Library of Congress.


African Missouri—The University of Missouri at St. Louis

This site contains a comprehensive examination and history of "African Missouri," including further links.


Africans in America—PBS

This site depicts "America’s Journey Through Slavery" through the use of biography, commentary, images, and documents.


African-American Resources—St. Louis Public Library

The list of on-line resources at this site includes "Free Men and Women of Color in St. Louis City Directories, 1821-1860."


Digital History

This site is a great resource for American History, including primary sources on slavery, Mexican American, Asian American, and Native American history, and U.S. political, social, and legal history.


The National Archives Digital Classroom

This site provides assistance for educators on the incorporation of original documents into the classroom. Also available on this sight are lesson plans and an in-depth list of on-line resources.


Missouri’s Dred Scott Case, 1846-1857

This extensive report on the Dred Scott Case includes quotes from original documents, images of Dred Scott and his wife, Harriet, and a history of Dred Scott before, after, and during his trials. This paper is provided as part of the Missouri State Archives' African American History Initiative, which can be accessed at www.sos.mo.gov/mdh/curriculum/africanamerican



What Do We Stand For-Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

This project, through the DESE website, is an excellent resource for teachers trying to incorporate Dred Scott or slave freedom suits into their classrooms.