Posted on September 18, 2018

Statue of Dred Scott Could Be Placed near Alabama Confederate Statue

Jonece Starr Dunigan,, September 17, 2018

A statue showing an enslaved couple pulling the chains of oppression could be erected in Lauderdale County near a monument honoring the Confederate dead.

After more than a year of campaigning, hosting community discussions and pitching five different designs for a social justice monument, Florence-based nonprofit Project Say Something on Tuesday selected a statue featuring Dred and Harriet Scott.

Proposed statue

“To have African American figures and bodies displayed in front of the courthouse will be powerful,” said Camille Bennett, the founder of Project Say Something. “It shows what it means for Florence and can set an example for other cities.”


The monument would be erected next to the 115-year-old Confederate memorial located in front of the Lauderdale County Courthouse. Bennett said selecting the Dred and Harriett Scott monument fits into the organization’s mission to balance the state’s Civil War history. Bennett said the monument ties Florence into a national story.

Dred Scott spent about a decade in Florence before he was sold to an army surgeon. {snip}

Two artists submitted five different illustrations for the organization to consider. The other proposals included a bronze “Lady Justice” and a group of cast iron figures pushing against the weight of racial injustice. {snip}


Bennett said she received mixed reactions about the second version of the Scott monument, which included Taylor Blow. The Blow family owned Dred Scott while he was in Florence and paid for the Scotts’ legal fees. But Bennett said many saw Blow’s presence in the statue as distracting.

“He looked like he was anchoring Dred and Harriet and pulling a lot of the weight, which could be seen as racially insensitive,” Bennett said. “Not that Blow was not important. He was an important ally, but in this case his figure was not working for us.”

Bennett said the campaign has caught the eye of a few opponents. She said they were called “cockroaches” online. {snip}

{snip} “They were angry that we said that the Confederate monument was put there to intimidate African Americans, the central theme of the Civil War was not slavery and that ‘the blacks’ do not need a monument.”