Preserving Black History Legacies: Old Courthouse at Gateway Arch National Park

Samantha Malott
Sam Brown
February 22, 2019
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Preserving Black History Legacies

Quinn Evans has been involved with a series of extraordinary projects to preserve the invaluable legacy of African Americans whose experiences and achievements have enriched our country, often at a great personal sacrifice. Protecting these places enables immersive visitor education and engagement with the past, perpetuating the immeasurable impact these events have had on our continued quest for equality.

Old Courthouse at Gateway Arch National Park

Facing the iconic Gateway Arch along the Mississippi River, the Old Courthouse at the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial has been a Midwestern landmark for more than 150 years. This site is best known as the setting for the pivotal 1847 and 1850 trials in which Dred and Harriet Scott, an enslaved African American couple, sued for their freedom. Although the court case was not ruled in their favor, the Scott family did eventually gain their freedom in 1857. Newspaper coverage of this decade-long legal battle raised awareness of slavery in non-slavery states and built support for Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. The courthouse is the site of many other important 19th-century trials as well, including Virginia Minor’s historic case for a woman’s right to vote in the 1870s.

Quinn Evans has supported the National Park Service’s program to protect and preserve this Civil War-era building over the past twenty years, providing surveys, assessments, and repair and restoration recommendations for interior and exterior improvements.

A photo of a domed building in front of skyscrapers.
A painting of Dred Scott.

Click here to visit the National Park Service webpage for more information on Dred Scott and the Old Courthouse at Gateway Arch National Park.

More posts in this series

Preserving Black History Legacies: Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site

Preserving Black History Legacies: Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument

Preserving Black History Legacies: Dorothy Hamm Middle School

Preserving Black History Legacies: Maggie L. Walker Governor's School

Preserving Black History Legacies: Paul Laurence Dunbar House Historic Site

Preserving Black History Legacies: Pullman National Monument Visitor Center

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