Stories of Scottsboro

Stories of Scottsboro

by James Goodman
     
 

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"A rich and compelling narrative, as taut and suspenseful as good fiction. In places, Stories of Scottsboro is almost heartbreaking, not least because Goodman shows what people felt as well as what they thought." -- Washington Post Book World

To white Southerners, it was "a heinous and unspeakable crime" that flouted a taboo as old as slavery. To

Overview

"A rich and compelling narrative, as taut and suspenseful as good fiction. In places, Stories of Scottsboro is almost heartbreaking, not least because Goodman shows what people felt as well as what they thought." -- Washington Post Book World

To white Southerners, it was "a heinous and unspeakable crime" that flouted a taboo as old as slavery. To the Communist Party, which mounted the defense, the Scottsboro case was an ideal opportunity to unite issues of race and class. To jury after jury, the idea that nine black men had raped two white women on a train traveling through northern Alabama in 1931 was so self-evident that they found the Scottsboro boys guilty even after the U.S. Supreme Court had twice struck down the verdict and one of the "victims" had recanted.

This innovative and grippingly narrated work of history tells the story of a case that marked a watershed in American racial justice. Or, rather, it tells several stories. For out of dozens of period sources, Stories of Scottsboro re-creates not only what happened at Scottsboro, but the dissonant chords it struck in the hearts and minds of an entire nation.

"Extraordinary.... To do justice to the Scottsboro story a book would have to combine edge-of-the-seat reportage and epic narrative sweep. And it is just such a book that James Goodman has given us, a beautifully realized history...written with complete authority, tight emotional control, and brilliant use of archival material." -- Chicago Tribune

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This gripping book does much more than tell the story of Scottsboro with new information and insight. It invents a new way of writing history. Like a kaleidoscope, the author rotates the stories told by various participants in that cause of the 1930s, causing new patterns to emerge until they take a form we can call truth."--James M. McPherson
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Harvard historian Goodman recounts the infamous Scottsboro rape case, in which nine black men were convicted of assaulting two white women in 1930s Alabama. (Apr.)
Library Journal
Goodman (history, Harvard) has written a full and compelling account of the 1931 Scottsboro case involving nine black youths charged with raping two young white women on a freight train in Alabama. Eight of the defendants were sentenced to death after the first trial in Scottsboro, Alabama. In the next decade there would be seven retrials and two landmark Supreme Court decisions. A political deal was struck in the final trial, 1937-38, in which four defendants (later pardoned) got life imprisonment, and the charges against the others dropped. The case embroiled the nation for many years and still has resonance. The Communist Party quickly entered the defense and was often at odds with conservative black defenders. Recommended for libraries with Civil Rights and black history collections.-- Harry Frumerman, formerly with Hunter Coll., New York

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780679761594
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
03/28/1995
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
496
Sales rank:
624,317
Product dimensions:
5.22(w) x 7.97(h) x 1.21(d)

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