Scottsboro Trials Project

By: William Venable

Scottsboro Trial

In the 1930s, nine African-American men were accused of raping two women, Victoria Price, and Ruby Bates.

The African-American men were on the Chattanooga to Memphis Freight Train with some white men and the two white women. On this train there was a fight, the white men stepped on the hand of Haywood Patterson, who was hanging on the side of the train, most of the white men were thrown off the train.

The train soon stopped at Paint Rock, Alabama. When the men and women were leaving the train, they were arrested. The women were held under arrest longer than the men because Victoria Price was a know prostitute, so Ruby was also accused of being one. Upon leaving the train, the women also immediately accused the nine black men of raping them, Victoria accused six of them, but the officers assumed that the other three got Ruby, but one of the accused black men, Clarence Norris, called them liars and was "struck" through with a bayonet.

I think that the men were innocent because one of them said that they were on a different gondola than the women, and someone pointed out that one of them was blind, and the other was too sick to walk unassisted, therefore they did not commit the crime.

Alabama's Reaction to the Trial

During this time all the defendants remained in prison. Finally, on April 1, 1935, the United States Supreme Court reversed the convictions of Patterson and Norris on the grounds that qualified African-Americans had been systematically excluded from all juries in Alabama, and that they had been specifically excluded in this case.

The Two Women and Clarence Norris

Similarities/Differences of the Books Trial, and the Trial

The trial in the book is the same as the Scottsboro trial because they were both about black men being accused of raping women, some of the black men in the Scottsboro trial were executed and Tom Robinson was shot to death when it was obvious that the black men should have been proven innocent. And the women lied about being raped.

Tom Robinson's trial is different from the Scottsboro trial because there were nine men in the Scottsboro trial, when there was only one in Tom's. Tom also tried to run from his execution but got shot instead, and the people in Scottsboro got executed properly, also two women accused the men of the Scottsboro trial of raping them, but in Tom's only Mayella and Bob accused him.