The first of the Keynotes for the 2024 RootsTech conference has just been announced. It is Lynne M. Jackson. She is an author, president and founder of the Dred Scott Heritage Foundation.
Now, I admit I have never heard of her, or this foundation, but when I read about it, I think it sounds like it will be a very interesting talk. That’s the thing I have found about past RootsTech conferences – even when I don’t know who the keynote is, I’ve still found them fascinating.
Dred and Harriet Scott were an enslaved couple who fought for their freedom and their case ended up in the US Supreme Court in 1857. The ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court was that enslaved people were not citizens of the United States and, therefore, could not expect any protection from the federal government or the courts. The opinion also stated that Congress had no authority to ban slavery from a Federal territory. Details of this decision are available online here.
Although this sounds awful to us, we have to remember that it was only in 1967 (110 years after this ruling) that Australians voted in a referendum to change the Constitution so that like all other Australians, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples would be counted as part of the population and the Commonwealth would be able to make laws for them.
The story of Dred and Harriet Scott is described as “a story of courage, fear, and faith to claim one's right to freedom, by the law of the land, and by the conviction that all human beings are entitled to stand up for their freedom.” I think it sounds like it will be another riveting RootsTech Keynote.
And remember, this talk will be available to view online as well as in person at the Salt Palace Convention centre.
DISCLOSURE: I am a RootsTech 2023 conference Media Rep and in return for my promotion of the conference I receive a free entry pass and some additional non-monetary perks. My transportation and accommodation are not compensated.