Scottsboro Trials, March 1931

The Scottsboro trials were a series of cases against nine African-American's. This case shows the ugliness of race relations in the depression era.

In March 1931, the nine African-Americans were riding on a freight train near Scottsboro, Alabama. A local sheriff and armed deputies arrested the 9 men, charging them with fighting with some white hoboes and throwing them off of the train. Two white women from the same train accused the men of raping them. Within the following two weeks all but one of the men were convicted of rape by the all-white juries and sentenced to death. Ironically medical evidence later discovered proved their innocence.

After several trials, the first defendant, Haywood Patterson, was condemned to die. Fortunately the Supreme Court intervened, and ruled that African-Americans were systematically excluded from juries in Alabama. Patterson was found guilty again in 1936 and was given a 75-year jail sentence. Four of others received life sentences. (The other three weren't so lucky :(