Scottsboro Boys

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scotts boys-01.png

Scottsboro Boys

from 300.00

The Scottsboro Boys were nine African American teenagers accused in Alabama of raping two White American women on a train in 1931.

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The landmark set of legal cases from this incident dealt with racism and the right to a fair trial. The cases included a lynch mob before the suspects had been indicted, all-white juries, rushed trials, and disruptive mobs. It is commonly cited as an example of a miscarriage of justice in the United States legal system.

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On March 25, 1931, two dozen people were 'hoboing' on a freight train traveling between Chattanooga and Memphis, Tennessee, the hoboes being an equal mix of African-Americans and Caucasians.

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A group of white teenage boys saw 18 year-old Haywood Patterson on the train and attempted to push him off the train, claiming that it was "a white man's train". A group of whites gathered rocks and attempted to force all of the black men from the train. Patterson and the other black passengers were able to ward off the group.

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The humiliated white teenagers jumped or were forced off the train and reported to the city's sheriff that they had been attacked by a group of black teenagers. The sheriff deputized a posse comitatus, stopped and searched the train at Paint Rock, Alabama and arrested the black Americans.

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Two young white women also got off the train and accused the black teenagers of rape. The case was first heard in Scottsboro, Alabama, in three rushed trials, in which the defendants received poor legal representation.

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All but 12-year-old Roy Wright were convicted of rape and sentenced to death, the common sentence in Alabama at the time for black men convicted of raping white women.

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With help from the Communist Party USA (CPUSA) and the NAACP, the case was appealed. The Alabama Supreme Court affirmed seven of the eight convictions, and granted 13-year-old Eugene Williams a new trial because he was a minor.

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Chief Justice John C. Anderson dissented, ruling that the defendants had been denied an impartial jury, fair trial, fair sentencing, and effective counsel. While waiting for their trials, eight of the nine defendants were held in Kilby Prison. The cases were twice appealed to the United States Supreme Court, which led to landmark decisions on the conduct of trials. In Powell v. Alabama (1932), it ordered new trials.

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#February 

 

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(S): 8.5x11 in
(M) 24x36 in
(L) 30x40 in
(XL) 60x40 in

Printed on High Quality Archival Metallic Paper

Hand signed and numbered.

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