The Dred Scott Decision
The first significant point of entry for African Americans was in bondage to officers stationed at Fort Snelling. Although slavery was never legal in Minnesota, Army officers were allowed to bring their slaves into the territory. Once here, some slaves sought freedom. The most famous case of this is that of Dred & Harriet Scott. After their owner's death in 1846, the couple, then living in St. Louis, sued for their freedom on the grounds that they had once lived on free soil, including Minnesota. Their case resulted in the infamous 1857 Dred Scott Decision, which held that no black person had ever been, nor could be, a citizen of the United States. This decision propelled the country toward Civil War and launched an influx of African Americans into Minnesota.