Remembering Scottsboro: The Legacy of an Infamous Trial

Remembering Scottsboro: The Legacy of an Infamous Trial

by James A. Miller
     
 

ISBN-10: 0691140472

ISBN-13: 9780691140476

Pub. Date: 04/20/2009

Publisher: Princeton University Press

In 1931, nine black youths were charged with raping two white women in Scottsboro, Alabama. Despite meager and contradictory evidence, all nine were found guilty and eight of the defendants were sentenced to death—making Scottsboro one of the worst travesties of justice to take place in the post-Reconstruction South. Remembering Scottsboro explores how

Overview

In 1931, nine black youths were charged with raping two white women in Scottsboro, Alabama. Despite meager and contradictory evidence, all nine were found guilty and eight of the defendants were sentenced to death—making Scottsboro one of the worst travesties of justice to take place in the post-Reconstruction South. Remembering Scottsboro explores how this case has embedded itself into the fabric of American memory and become a lens for perceptions of race, class, sexual politics, and justice. James Miller draws upon the archives of the Communist International and NAACP, contemporary journalistic accounts, as well as poetry, drama, fiction, and film, to document the impact of Scottsboro on American culture.

The book reveals how the Communist Party, NAACP, and media shaped early images of Scottsboro; looks at how the case influenced authors including Langston Hughes, Richard Wright, and Harper Lee; shows how politicians and Hollywood filmmakers invoked the case in the ensuing decades; and examines the defiant, sensitive, and savvy correspondence of Haywood Patterson—one of the accused, who fled the Alabama justice system. Miller considers how Scottsboro persists as a point of reference in contemporary American life and suggests that the Civil Rights movement begins much earlier than the Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955.

Remembering Scottsboro demonstrates how one compelling, provocative, and tragic case still haunts the American racial imagination.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691140476
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
04/20/2009
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
296
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.80(d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations ix
Acknowledgments xi
Introduction 1
CHAPTER ONE: Framing the Scottsboro Boys 7
CHAPTER TWO: "Scottsboro, Too": The Writer as Witness 52
CHAPTER THREE: Staging Scottsboro 85
CHAPTER FOUR: Fictional Scottsboros 118
CHAPTER FIVE: Richard Wright's Scottsboro of the Imagination 143
CHAPTER SIX: The Scottsboro Defendant as Proto-Revolutionary: Haywood Patterson 169
CHAPTER SEVEN: Cold War Scottsboros 197
CHAPTER EIGHT: Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird: The Final Stage of the Scottsboro Narrative 220
Epilogue 235
Notes 243
Bibliography 263
Index 275

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