Scottsboro Boys

Topics: Jury, Scottsboro Boys, James Edwin Horton Pages: 4 (1465 words) Published: October 4, 2008
On the night of March 25, 1931, a sheriff posse in Paint Rock, Alabama stopped a freight train traveling from Chattanooga, Tennessee. They arrested nine young black men on the train. They also found two young women, Victoria Price and Ruby Bates, dressed in men's overalls. Price claimed she was raped by six of the young men, while Bates claimed the other three raped her. The nine men, from Chattanooga and different parts of Georgia, ranged in age from 12 to 20. They were roped together and taken to the Jackson County Jail in Scottsboro, Alabama. That night, a mob gathered outside the jail, but the governor sent in the National Guard to protect the young men, later known as the Scottsboro Boys. In the midst of a firestorm generated by the womens’ allegations, a crowd of ten thousand people came to town for the trials of the men. Judge A.E. Hawkins tried to figure out who would represent the nine defendants. Chattanooga attorney Stephen Roddy, who was unfamiliar with Alabama law and drunk as well, stepped forward to say he'd "help out." Local attorney Milo Moody agreed to assist Roddy. The two had 25 minutes to meet with their clients before the trial began. Price and Bates told the story of their alleged rapes to a shocked all-male, all-white jury. The defense barely put together a case, and any hopes of acquittals were dashed when the defendants began accusing each other. The jury deliberated for two hours before returning the first of the Scottsboro verdicts. All nine men were found guilty, and eight were sentenced to the electric chair. Only Roy Wright, 12, was spared when his sentencing ended in a mistrial. The date of their executions was set: July 10, 1931. Then on April 9, Judge Hawkins and Alabama governor Ben Miller received a telegram from the International Labor Defense (ILD). It said, in part: "We demand stay of execution and opportunity to investigate and prepare for new trial or appeal." As July 10 approached, eight sat on death row at Kilby Prison...
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