Dred Scott, And Oakwood University

Last month when we went to see the SPACES sculpture exhibits in Huntsville, we went by Oakwood College.  My WPA book mentioned that Oakwood was built on what was at one time the Job Key and the Peter Blow plantations.  Dred Scott, who became famous for suing in a case that went all the way to the Supreme Court for his freedom as a slave, had at one time been at the Peter Blow plantation.

This is the slave cemetery for both plantations, where Dred Scott’s first wife and two of his children are believed to be buried.  The flat monument was dedicated April 4, 1999 with the words of Delbert W. Baker, President, Oakwood College.  It reads:
In the annals of history simple things often illustrate great things — sacrifice, courage, bravery, great deeds or exploits, so it is with this cemetery.  Established more than one hundred years ago – slaves – Black men and women, caught up in the inextricable chains of bondage, buried their loved ones on this site.  From the Job Key and Peter Blow Plantations (the latter where Dred Scott hailed) now the site of Oakwood College; from the other plantations and homesteads they buried them — slaves and former slaves, we remember them, we honor them.  

Oakwood University, Huntsville AL
The tall monument has the words of Ellen White (a pioneer of the Seventh-Day Adventist church – Oakwood College here is a SDA institution) inscribed, from her ‘Southern Work’ in 1891.  In part, “…the Black man’s name is written in the book of life beside the White man’s…the character makes the man.”

Leave a Reply