I love reading about historical figures that I can really look up to. Mark L. Shurtleff's novel Am I Not A Man?: The Dred Scott Story is about such a person.
An illiterate slave, Dred Scott trusted in an all-white, slave-owning jury to declare him free. But after briefly experiencing the glory of freedom and manhood, a new state Supreme Court ordered the cold steel of the shackles to be closed again around his wrists and ankles. Falling to his knees, Dred cried, "Ain't I a man?" Dred answered his own question by rising and taking his fight to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Dred ultimately lost his epic battle when the Chief Justice declared that a black man was so inferior that he had "no rights a white man was bound to respect."
Dred died not knowing that his undying courage led directly to the election of President Abraham Lincoln and the emancipation proclamation.
Dred Scott's inspiring and compelling true story of adventure, courage, love, hatred, and friendship parallels the history of this nation from the long night of slavery to the narrow crack in the door that would ultimately lead to freedom and equality for all men.
By the end of this book I was teary and felt both the pain and the triumph of Dred's story. This brave man renewed my gratitude for my ancestors and the trials they underwent to insure the freedom of their posterity. And I'm grateful to Mark Shurtleff for researching Dred's life and gifting us all with his story.
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