Black Communists Speak on Scottsboro: A Documentary History

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Overview

On March 25, 1931, Alabama police detained nine young African American men at a railroad stop not far from Scottsboro. In the process, they encountered two white women-who promptly accused the young men of raping them. Soon after, all-white juries found the nine youths guilty and eight of them were sentenced to death. Although many Americans were outraged by the injustices of the case, the loudest voices raised in protest were those of members of the American Communist Party.

Many white Communists spoke out, but black Communists took the lead in organizing public protests and legal responses. As this surprising book makes clear, they were acting at the direction of the Communist International (Comintern) which had directed them to address the "Negro problem." Now, with the opening of formerly inaccessible Communist party archives, this collection of primary documents reveals the little-known but major roles played by black Communists in the case of "the Scottsboro Boys."
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

In 1931, in Scottsboro, AL, nine African American men were wrongly accused of raping two white women. An all-white jury found them guilty, and eight were sentenced to death. Here, Howard (American history, Bloomsburg Univ.) presents the voices of activists like Harry Haywood and William Patterson, who took the lead in organizing protests to free these innocent men.


—Ann Burns
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781592135974
  • Publisher: Temple University Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/2008
  • Pages: 200
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Walter T. Howard is Professor of American History at Bloomsburg University in northeastern Pennsylvania and the editor of B.D. Amis, African American Radical: A Short Anthology of His Writings and Speeches. He was awarded The Gustavus Myers Award for Human Rights Scholarship, for his book Lynchings: Extralegal Violence in Florida  During the 1930s.

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Table of Contents

Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments
Introduction
Chapter 1           “They Shall Not Die!”
Chapter 2            A Call to Millions
Chapter 3            Harry Haywood Speaks
Chapter 4            William Patterson Speaks
Chapter 5            Monitoring the Case
Chapter 6            Following Through
Epilogue
Profiles of Black Communists
Appendix
Selected Bibliography
Index

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