Victoria Price and the Scottsboro Trials
The Scottsboro case, a cause in modern American race relations, began when a brawl between whites and blacks took place while riding a freight train through northern Alabama in 1931 (Boyer). When Jackson County Officials stopped the train, two white women appeared from the freight train and accused nine black teens of raping them. One of those women was Victoria Price.
Victoria Price was born on January 20, 1911. She grew up in the poor parts of Huntsville, Alabama. She had first gone into work as a spinner along side her mother at the age of ten. When her mother suffered from an injury of some sort, Victoria began to make all the money for her family. She worked in cotton mills when work was available and when there wasn’t, she traveled along the railroads in search of work. She, however, was not the only person to do this, for many people were out of work during the Depression. Victoria eventually had to go into prostitution to earn more money since the cotton mills only hired for five or six days a month (“People and Events: Victoria Price 1911-1982”).
On April 3, Victoria Price was called to the stand to testify. She recounted her job-hunting trip to Chattanooga, the fight on the train between the white and the colored, and the rape in which Haywood Patterson was one of her attackers. She claimed that six raped her, and three raped Ruby Bates. Prosecutor Knight’s strategy was mainly to make sure his questions would keep to Victoria’s story, and so it did not change from her first story of the incident. When Samuel S. Leibowitz questioned her, however, it was merciless. His questions suggested his answers. Victoria had claimed that she stayed at Callie Brochie’s boardinghouse in Chattanooga the night before, but that was proved false. There wasn’t such a place. Leibowitz proved that she was an adulterer who had consorted with Jack Tiller, a married man, in the Huntsville freight yards two days before the alleged...
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