To Kill a Mockingbird and The Scottsboro Boys
Imagine sitting in a court room as a black man. You are put on trial for something you never would have even though about doing. You look around at an all-white jury. You have little hope of getting out of this situation being ruled innocent, but you don’t give up. This is exactly what happens with the Scottsboro Boys. The Scottsboro Boys trial of the 1930’s parallels many of the events in Harper Lee’s Novel To Kill a Mockingbird.
The Scottsboro boys were nine young men who jumped on a train that was heading out west. “They jumped on the train in search for government work in Memphis, Tennessee” (“Scottsboro Boys” Crime). After getting into a fight with a group of white boys, they got thrown off at the nearest train station. Thinking that the little fight was going to be no big deal, that wasn’t the only thing they were going to get in trouble for. “The assault charges they faced quickly grew much more serious when two female rail-riders, Ruby Bates and Victoria Price, accused the black youths of raping them” (“Scottsboro Boys” Encyclopedia). When the girls were questioned by the police, they claimed that the boys had raped them, which was the most serious offense imaginable during the time of the Jim Crow Laws. The International Labor Defense called Leibowitz to defend the boys in their second trial. A lot of people questioned Leibowitz’s decision to take the case and he quickly received many death threats. “He was assigned five uniformed members of the national guard to protect him” (“Scottsboro Boys” Crime). The boys were put in jail for two years until their second trials. Ruby bates came back and completely changed her story. “She testified that she and Victoria Price had made up the rape story to avoid arrest themselves” (“Scottsboro Boys” Crime). Eventually, all the boys escaped from jail or had been set free.
One of the events in the novel that parallels the Scottsboro Boys trial is...
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