Scottsboro Trials

The trials that rocked the 1930s

The Story

On March 25, 1931, nine teenage boys Eugene Williams, Haywood Patterson, Charles Weems, Clarence Norris, Andy Wright, Ozzie Powell, Olen Montgomery, Roy Wright, and Will Roberson were on a train. Most of them didn't know each other. A fight between the boys and a few white men broke out. Victoria Price and Ruby Bates, who were on a seperate car and never came in contact with the boys, accused the boys of raping them. 12 days later, on April 6, 1931, they went to trial. Most of the people in Alabama wanted the boys to be convicted. They weren't sure if the boys were guilty or not, but they were racist. The boys were innocent, but were found guilty by the jury, all the boys were sentenced to deaath except Roy Wright, the youngest. Since he was only 13, he was not tried as an adult. However, the judge, James E. Horton, overruled the vote, and the boys got a different trial with a different jury. At the second trial, Ruby Bates, one of the women who was supposedly raped, denied that she or her friend Victoria Price were ever raped by the boys. They were still convicted. The Scottsboro Trials played an important part in giving black people rights and taking away white superiority in the U.S., not just Alabama.

Relation to To Kill A Mockingbird

Similarities and Differences

The Scottsboro Trials are very similar to Tom Robinson's trial. Not only were they both in Alabama in the 1930s, but the case was because of a black man raping a white woman. Also, both times the men were innocent, but found guilty by the jury, and the white women accused them to cover up a secret. The differences, besides one being real and the other fake, were that in Tom's trial it was just him and one white woman, Mayella Ewell, and in the Scottsboro trials it was nine boys and two white women. The other difference is that in Tom Robinson's trial, Judge Taylor didn't overrule the jury's vote, so he was found guilty the first time.