Bloomington yesterday

Dred Scott Playfield honors struggle for freedom

In 1971, in tribute to Dred Scott’s place in the history of Minnesota and the nation, the Bloomington City Council named the 50-acre park complex at 10820 Bloomington Ferry Road the Dred Scott Playfield. 

A forerunner in the fight to achieve racial justice, Scott endured a 10-year struggle to free himself and his family from slavery. After living as a slave in free states and territories for four years, including time at Fort Snelling, Scott began his case for emancipation. His case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. In Scott v. Sanford, citing racist findings, the Supreme Court ruled against the emancipation of Scott, and even held that Scott was not a citizen of the U.S. and could not sue in federal court. 

The decision propelled the abolitionist movement and contributed to the tensions that led to the Civil War. In 1857, he and his spouse, Harriet Scott, were voluntarily freed. Tragically, his time of freedom was brief. Scott died the next year.

To learn more about the naming or history of Dred Scott Playfield, email the Human Rights Commission at For more information about park facilities at Dred Scott Playfield, visit or email