“Freedom suits”: slave lawsuits from 180 years ago

LA Times via Seattle Times: “Slaves’ courtroom fights for liberation revealed.” Archivists in St. Louis have uncovered, and digitized, an archive of the records of 283 “freedom suits” filed by slaves against their masters in St. Louis from 1814 to 1865. Many predate Dred Scott’s suit, often with more successful results. In fact Missouri, like Virginia, had a practice of “set[ting] aside taxpayer money to hire lawyers for slaves who sued for freedom.” The story, and the archive, open the doors on a fascinating chapter of US history.