TKAM & Scottsboro Trial Comparison

By Allison Buckles

What Was the Scottsboro Trial About?

In 1931, several groups of white and black men were riding the rails with two white women, one being a prostitute. The groups began fighting and the white men were kicked off the train by the blacks. The white men reported the black men for assault, and a posse in Paint Rock, Alabama stopped the train. They swarmed the train with their guns and rounded up every black man they could find. Nine captured blacks, soon to be called "The Scottsboro Boys" were tied together and taken to jail in Scottsboro. The two white women, Victoria Price and Ruby Bates, were also greeted by the posse. One of the girls told the posse members that the black men had raped them with knifes and pistols. The black men were put on trial and after several months they were found guilty by a vote of 6-1. However, one of the white women, Ruby Bates, testified and said that the men never touched her and Price, and that Price had made up the accusation in order to get out of any moral charges. When the jury came to a verdict they had ignored Bates' testimony and assumed the men were guilty under a racial and prejudice decision.
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How Did the Jury and the State of Alabama React to the Trial?

Alabama was excited when the news spread. People would crowd outside the court house to try and see the action. The press also ate up the trial. There were numerous headlines on newspapers and articles about the Scottsboro Boys. Their story became famous among the people of Alabama and it spread rapidly. The jury reacted somewhat differently. Since it contained a majority of white men, they made racist decisions and assumptions. The men were found guilty with a 6-1 vote, even though there was clear evidence that they did not rape the white women.

How is this Trial Similar to Tom Robinson's Trial?

Tom Robinson's trial is similar to this trial in many ways. First off, innocent black men were charged with a crime made up by a white female. They both involved rape, and the black men were found guilty, even though there was evidence that they hadn't done what they were accused of. Second, the jury was prejudice and based their verdict off of a racist decision. They stood with the white man's side no matter what proof came up. Lastly, the majority of the black men were killed in the end.