1930's Research Project

Adrienne Tran, 4th Period

The Scottsboro Boys' Trial

In 1931, nine black boys were accused of raping two women. The nine black boys were Olen Montgomery, Clarence Norris, Haywood Patterson, Ozzie Powell, Willie Roberson, Charlie Weems, Eugene Williams, Andy Wright, and Leroy Wright. The two women who accused the black boys were Victoria Price and Ruby Bates. This trial was brought to a court several times. But each time, the defendants were found guilty. Even after some convincing evidence that showed they were innocent. I also believed the Scottsboro Boys were innocent after hearing the evidence, which came from Ruby Bates herself. She claimed that the boys actually did not rape her and Victoria Price. She said that they were together the whole time, along with their boyfriends. Also, Samuel Liebowitz said that after examining the women, there were now signs to show that they had been raped. However, the jury still found the boys guilty. At first, they were all sentenced to death, except for the youngest, Leroy Wright-he was sentenced to life in prison. However, their verdicts changed throughout each court trial. In the end, four were punished and four were freed. Ozzie Powell was shot in the head after an escape attempt, Clarence Norris was convicted of rape and sentenced to death, Andy Wright and Charlie Weems also were convicted of rape and sentenced to lengthy prison terms, and the other four were freed.

Alabama's Reaction

This trial was taken to court many different times. Each and every time, the defendants were found guilty. Even after a shocking confession from Ruby Bates, and after having one black man in the jury. When the people of Alabama heard the news, they cheered. The jury could hear them rejoicing outside.

The Scottsboro Boys' Trial vs. Tom Robinson's Trial

The Scottsboro Boys' Trial was very similar to Tom Robinson's Trial. In both, the defendant were black men (or a black man) being accused of raping a white women. In both, the black men were found guilty. In both, a black man died. The most interesting similarity to me, is the evidence in the trials. In both, I believe the black men were innocent, but it was the color of their skin-who they were-that influenced the jury's verdict. Tom Robinson was defended by Atticus Finch, who had very good evidence as to whether Tom was innocent. Then in the Scottsboro Boys' case, Ruby Bates, the women who was accusing the men, confessed to not being raped, but the black men were found guilty! I feel that both trials were very unfair, and the wrong decision was made.