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The case of the Scottsboro Boys was a racial cause célèbre in the 1930s. Nine young black men between the ages of 13 and 20 were accused of rape by two white women. They were immediately arrested, tried by an all-white male jury in Alabama, and sentenced to death. Aretha writes clearly, with objectivity and compassion, allowing for the many flaws of the poorly educated young men themselves and highlighting the background infighting of those purporting to be on their side. The book is organized around the case's progression through the various appeals courts. In the process, the author helps readers understand the plight of the defendants, who languished in jail under barbaric conditions. Historical photographs are included throughout, and a time line helps clarify some of the more confusing events. A must for libraries seeking to enhance their African-American history collections.
Carol Jones CollinsCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
The Trial of the Scottsboro Boysby David Aretha
Unbeknownst to them, two women who were also aboard the train
In 1931, while America was in the grips of the Great Depression, nine young black men fought with a group of white men while hoboing on a train near Scottsboro, Alabama. When police arrived to-arrest them at the train's next stop, the nine knew they were in trouble - but they had no idea just how much.
Unbeknownst to them, two women who were also aboard the train told the police that the nine black men had assaulted and raped them. Evidence suggested that there was little truth to this accusation, but local police and citizenry, enraged at the idea of black men violating white women, immediately rounded up and arrested the nine black men, dubbing them the Scottsboro Boys.
The Boys were quickly found guilty and sentenced to die in subsequent trials, but the lack of convincing evidence, and the blatant injustice of the rushed trials, outraged people nationwide. Soon the Scottsboro Boys were being fought for by the NAACP, socialists, and even President Franklin Roosevelt. They were all up against a powerful enemy - the deeply corrupt and racist justice system of Jim Crow-era Alabama. The trials and struggles for justice would carry on for years and change the face of justice and civil rights in America.
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