Descendants of Dred Scott, Supreme Court Justice Roger Taney, talk reconciliation

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Alexandra Zernik/ Capital News Service

Descendants of those involved in the milestone Supreme Court decision preventing African Americans from becoming citizens will come together and share their story of reconciliation and repentance, 162 years after the decision.

Lynne Jackson and Charles Taney will speak at the Claude G. Perkins Living and Learning Center at Virginia Union University on Wednesday from 7 to 10 p.m.

Jackson is the great-great-granddaughter of Dred Scott, who was denied citizenship by the Supreme Court. Taney is a descendant of Chief Justice Roger Taney, who denied Scott and all other African Americans citizenship with the 1857 decision. The discussion will focus on the bond Jackson and Taney built and their hope to better the future.

“While this is a personal reconciliation story, it is our hope that this event will also contribute to discussions on how to achieve greater action and racial equity systemically in the commonwealth,” Virginians for Reconciliation said in a press release.

Virginians for Reconciliation seeks to heal racial wounds through similar events.

In addition to Virginians for Reconciliation, the Dred Scott Heritage Foundation, founded by Jackson, its current president, is organizing Wednesday’s event.

The foundation has set out to educate people about the impact of the Dred Scott decision and the struggles for freedom by Scott, and his wife, Harriet. In doing so, the foundation hopes people won’t “forget the struggle for freedom, citizenship and equality, with an eye towards helping to heal the wounds of the past,” according to its website.

The organizations are working alongside VUU and Virginia Commonwealth University to bring this free event to the public.

The Discussion on Truth and Reconciliation will be moderated by Ted Ritter, an assistant professor at VUU. The doors will open at 6:30 p.m. for a three-hour discussion on Jackson and Taney’s transformative journey.