Scottsboro and Its Legacy: the cases that challenged American legal and social justice
Call Number: KF224.S34 A25 2008
Publication Date: 2007-11-01
Nine black teenagers were accused of raping two white women on a train in 1931 in northern Alabama. They were arrested, tried, convicted, and sentenced to death in the town of Scottsboro in little more than two weeks. The Scottsboro Boys case rapidly captured public attention and became a lightning rod for fundamental issues of social justice including racial discrimination, class oppression, and legal fairness. Involving years of appeals, the Scottsboro trials resulted in two landmark U.S. Supreme Court rulings and were a vortex for the sometimes-competing interests of the American Communist Party, the NAACP, and the young men themselves. The cases resulted in a damning portrayal of southern justice and corresponding social mores in several national and international media outlets, and in a spirited defense of the judicial system and prevailing cultural norms in other news reports, particularly in the South. Here, Acker details the alleged crimes, their legal aftermath, and their immediate and enduring social significance as evidenced in media portrayals and other forms of popular culture.