Scottsboro Trial

The rape of 2 white women in Scottsboro Alabama

The Issue:

In 1931, 9 black men were accused of raping two white women in Scottsboro Alabama on a freight train in. In trials the boys were found guilty of rape and they were sentenced to death or prison time for 75 to 99 years. In a series of trials the youths were found guilty and sentenced to death or to prison terms of 75 to 99 years. At the second trial one of the women recanted her previous testimony. In 1937 charges against five were dropped and the state agreed to consider parole for the others. Two were paroled in 1944, one in 1951. When the fourth escaped (1948) to Michigan, the state refused to return him to Alabama. In 1976, Alabama pardoned Clarence Norris, who had broken parole and fled the state in 1946. The belief that the case against the "Scottsboro boys" was unproved and that the verdicts were the result of racism caused 1930s liberals and radicals to come to the defense of the youths.

The Scene:

Quoted by author of Article

"No crime in American history-- let a lone a crime that never occurred-- proceeded as many trials, convictions, reversals and retrials as dad an alleged gang rape of 2 girls by 9 black teenagers on a southern railroad freight run on March 25th 1931." -Linder