Scottsboro Case

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Scottsboro Case.

In 1931 nine black youths were indicted at Scottsboro, Ala., on charges of having raped two white women in a freight car passing through Alabama. In a series of trials the youths were found guilty and sentenced to death or to prison terms of 75 to 99 years. The U.S. Supreme Court reversed convictions twice on procedural grounds (that the youths' right to counsel had been infringed and that no blacks had served on the grand or trial jury). At the second trial one of the women recanted her previous testimony. The Alabama trial judge set aside the guilty verdict as contrary to the weight of the evidence and ordered a new trial. 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 the last known surviving "Scottsboro boy," Clarence Norris, who had broken parole and fled the state in 1946; the other three who had been convicted were posthumously pardoned in 2013. 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 fact that Communists used the case for propaganda further complicated the affair.


See H. Patterson and E. Conrad, Scottsboro Boy (1950, repr. 1969); A. K. Chalmers, They Shall Be Free (1951); D. T. Carter, Scottsboro: A Tragedy of the American South (1969); J. Goodman, Stories of Scottsboro (1994).

Scottsboro Case

cause célèbre concerning nine Negro men, two white girls (1931). [Am. Hist.: Hart, 753]
References in periodicals archive ?
The Soviet press covered the Scottsboro case closely in other popular publications such as Komsomol'skaia pravda, Pravda, Izvestiia, and the Workers News.
The motif of a martyred African American also appeared in Yiddish American poetry in the years leading up to the Scottsboro case.
26) In its struggle with the NAACP over control over the Scottsboro cases in 1931, party leaders denounced the 'Negro reformists of the NAACP', who had 'expose[d] themselves as traitors to the Negro masses and betrayers of the Negro liberation struggle'; the civil rights organisation was controlled by 'secret allies of the lynchers' and 'ardent servants of the system of capitalist and landlord slavery'.
While some congratulated Contempo and its writers for their courage in having stood against the "decaying throne of the Southern Bourbons," most were livid at UNC for inviting Hughes to speak on campus, and at Contempo for having published his criticism of the Scottsboro case.
Miller argues that To Kill A Mockingbird presented an anodyne version of the Scottsboro case, a fiction in which locals resolve this local issue free of outside interference from the Communist Party and the NAACP, and where the question of racial oppression was never considered.
Stroman knew about the historic forces that made the Scottsboro case a long-running cause celebre.
While Lee's primary influence may not have been the Scottsboro case, she did write of the case in a 1999 letter to Hazel Rowley: "it will more than do as an example (albeit a lurid one) of deep-South attitudes on race vs.
In particular, the text explores what the Scottsboro case and its legacy reveals regarding America's hopes and fears about race relations, class distinctions, regional mores and cultural traditions, political divides, and about the media and its representation of social and legal injustices.
For example, the 1931 Scottsboro Case undoubtedly impacted Harper Lee as a young girl and seems to be reflected in the novel.
For an overview of the 1930s and Black American during the Depression see, Darlene Clark Hine, The Path to Equality: From the Scottsboro Case to the Breaking of Baseball's Color Barrier, (1931-1947).
From early history such as The Writing Of The Star-spangled Banner (0836834097), The Salem Witch Trials (0836834062) and The Oregon Trail (0836834054) to The Seneca Falls Women's Rights Convention (0836834089), The Scottsboro Case (0836834070) and The Atom Bomb Project (0836834046), each book provides insights into decision-making processes of the times, alternates American history with world response and overviews of the times, and provides excellent insights with easily-read text and suggested activities.
By fighting racism in the white working class and taking the "hard cases" of racist brutality, from the Scottsboro Case in the 1930s to the Martinsville Nine and Trenton Six cases after World War II, Communists in the US, much like Communists in South Africa, left themselves open to greater assaults on their own civil liberties, which were under sweeping attacks in the early Cold War era when the Soviets in the United Nations and African-American and white CPUSA activists sought to publicize institutional racism.

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