Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Dark Jurisprudence

Laumeier Sculpture Park 2014-07-20 6 (Scott and Plessy)

Dred Scott v. John F. A. Sandford, 60 U.S. 393 (1857).  Homer Plessy v. John Ferguson, 163 U.S. 537 (1896). Two of the worst decisions in the history of the United States Supreme Court. (There are those of us who think they are not through trying.) The first one ruled that people of African descent, whether slave or free, could not be citizens and therefore could not file suit in federal court. The second established the notorious "separate but equal" principle, legalizing institutional discrimination against black people, until it was repudiated by the Court in 1954. The details are too complex for this blog but you can read an excellent summary of the Scott case here and Plessy here. Together, they mark the worst of legalized racism in this country.

At Laumeier Sculpture Park, Scott and Plessy, depicted by identical style busts and pedestals, gaze at one another. Canadian (!) sculptor Ken Lum created The Space Between Scott and Plessy. Click the link to see for yourself.                     

6 comments:

Dave-CostaRicaDailyPhoto.com said...

The Dred Scott case was heard in the Old Courthouse in downtown St. Louis.

It would b a challenge for an artist to create a bust of Citizens United.

William Kendall said...

Impressive busts... and yes, injustices to say the least.

Jack said...

Very important cases in our history, of course, but I confess that the busts and their placement are in the "meh" category for me.

Bibi said...

Injustices for sure. Thanks for this post. I'm back now and hope to be visiting more often.

Halcyon said...

Some of the recent cases may also go down as amongst the worst as well. (Especially the one that allows corporations to donate freely to political campaigns - a very bad idea in my eyes)

Stefan Jansson said...

I will have to read up on this later.