Gray Ritter Graham on October 5 donated $50,000 to the “Freedom Suits Memorial” sculpture campaign, which will recognize the efforts of hundreds of slaves to gain their freedom through the legal system in St. Louis as well as across the nation.
The campaign is the fundraising effort behind erecting a sculpture by renowned artist Preston Jackson to honor the more than 300 lawsuits filed by slaves and their lawyers in St. Louis Circuit Court in pursuit of gaining their freedom. While the Dred Scott case of 1857 is famously documented, records of hundreds of similar cases of slaves suing for their freedom in St. Louis were only re-discovered 15 years ago. The 14-foot-tall bronze sculpture also will serve to honor all U.S. slaves’ legal fight for freedom, the lawyers who represented them, and the judges who helped in the attempts to gain freedom.
“Our firm is proud and honored to be a lead donor to the Freedom Suits Memorial, which appropriately recognizes and pays tribute especially to those brave enslaved persons and their lawyers who filed over 300 lawsuits in St. Louis between 1812 and 1865 seeking freedom from bondage,” said Gray Ritter Graham President Maurice Graham.
Circuit Judge David Mason, who chairs the Freedom Suits Memorial Committee, launched the idea for the statue in 2015, based on the St. Louis case records. The sculpture will be placed in the east plaze of the downtown Civil Courts Building. The fundraising goal of the Freedom Suits Memorial sculpture campaign is $1 million.
Watch the video below for more details on the sculpture and the Freedom Suits Memorial Campaign.
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