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Free «Scottsboro Case» Essay Sample

Scottsboro case was initially conducted on March 25, 1931 in Scottsboro Alabama. The case involved black teenagers who later became famous as Scottsboro Boys. Boys included Clarence Norris, Olen Montgomery, Andy Wright, Willie Roberson, Ozie Powell, Eugine Williams, Charlie Weems, Roy Wright and Haywood Patterson. The named black teenagers were falsely accused to have gang-raped two white women. This case became one of the most controversial and complicated cases in the history of United States of America (Sorensen 4).

The story of Scottsboro Boys began in a freight train that was heading to West Memphis, Tennessee. It stopped at Paint Rock Alabama where the nine black teenagers were arrested for raping the two white girls Victoria Prince (21) and Ruby Bates (17). The boys due to the Great 1931 Global Depression were riding this freight train in search for jobs in the neighboring towns and states. There were increased rates of unemployment in USA, people starved, became restless and bored. This called for every person to seek new livelihood anywhere (Sorensen 5). On this particular train in the Southern Railroad Line, a fight had broken between young passengers who were scrabbling for space in the railroad car. A white teenager, Haywood Patterson happened to have stepped on a black’s teenager hand and refused to apologize. The fight broke between the white and black teenagers where the Whites were forced to leave the train since they were outnumbered. The train then stopped in Paint Rock town after travelling forty miles. Later the black teenagers realized that Haywood Patterson accompanied by white men with rifles and pistols were picking all the black boys they could see in the freight cars. All the captured black boys were forced to get off the train and tied up together. They were put into a trunk and taken into jail in Scottsboro, Alabama. White boys forced off the train were had already made up a story of being assaulted by the black gang. Also on board were two poor and young females mill workers who were there hoping to find a job. Girls were subjected to male questions which prompted them to say they had been raped by the black teenagers already in jail (Sorensen 6).



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Governor by then was B.M. Miller who directed orders to the National Guard in order to protect the accused. Newspapers speculated that the black teenagers were guilty long before the trial. This trial lasted over a decade in which it produced accusation of unfair treatment, subjection to countless trials and retrials more than any other American Case in History. By then U.S. divided on the basis of racial justice and this case provided a chance to the southern blacks to as a part of court appointed juries. At the end of the case, the nine lives belonging to black teenagers were lost for the crime they never committed (Sorensen 6).

The Significance of the Case and Controversies

Following Scottsboro case, Southern intellectual rose in defense of the South made by disclaiming Frank L. Owsley theory that the epic battles between the North and South Missouri which had emerged since 1819 still exist. A professor from Vanderbilt University dealing with Southern and Civic war history formed among members forming the manifesto which defined the Agrarian revolution in 1930. Owsley from the Northern side revisited the situation ‘I’ll take My Stand; the South and the Agrarian Tradition’. This was Cleary seen as the irrepressible conflict between North and South. Owsley publicly argued that a frequent mistake has been occurring which has been in the past been interfering with the North, especially the North East. This mistake had been noted to occur between blacks and the whites proving it through a detailed historical framework (Miller 44). This had developed into civil wars almost resulting to a third crusade.

The Northern writers, artists and intellectuals defended the Scottsboro boys. Owsley’s argued that the Scottsboro intellectual black children and their grandchildren will be the founders of abolitionist and Reconstructionist in the U.S. He devoted his efforts on exposing all the historical antecedents that had committed by the South. He demonstrated technique and motive analogies which led to abolition crusade, reconstruction and increased agitation demanding for “Justice to the Negro” which was exemplified in Scottsboro case affair (Miller, 44).

Although Ruby Bates in the second trial disapproved the rape case, she testified that Victoria Price had invented the rape story. The irony was that the black men were still found guilty even after Ruby testimony. This proved that the Scottsboro case wasn’t a mere case but rather a case of hatred between the accuser and the accused. The Scottsboro case was pardoned in October 1976 and the only surviving teenager by then was Clarence Norris who had spent fifteen years for the crime he never committed. The Alabama House of Judiciary Committee rejected the proposal of paying Norris $10,000 for compensating time he spent on jail (Spartacus Educational 1).

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Impacts of Scottsboro Brothers case to the American History

Following the Scottsboro Brothers case, the racial relationship between blacks and the whites increased. This followed McGee case in 1951 concerning a Mississippi black man, Willie McGee who was executed in an electric chair in the town of Laurel. The evidence presented against him was by a white woman over rape case was so weak that he was to undergo three trials to be executed. This case received a most sporadic coverage in the U.S. which then became a cause Celibrein the country and the rest of the world. McGee case is said to have galvanized communist party in both United States and Europe. Willie McGee committee in some American cities and Europe held rallies and demonstrations in remembrance of many such injustices including Vanzetti and Scottsboro cases. This was not successful in United States as few who joined McGee rants were far-left partisans and those who opposed capital punishment. This led to New York communist Max Learner who got disturbed by McGee execution claiming that Mississippi man had wrongly been convicted and executed. This shaped the United States politics as people were grouped in ideologies of who cares about justice and injustice in America. Communist party then emerged to communicate injustices between the whites and the blacks creating liberal communist like Lerner (Neville 54).

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The Scottsboro case stirred United States and global national sense of injustice which was divided against parties, people’s color and creed/believe. This heightened tension between blacks and whites in the state. Scottsboro case became an inclusive property of the communist party members. Have been influencing negative media press. Great worries arose between political parties as they had to react towards learner’s cautionary statements. The Communist party under the rubric of Civil Rights Congress heavily enjoyed using Martinsville and McGee cases to push for justice in the United States. Liberal organizations such as American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the National Association for the Advanced of Colored People (NAACP), America for Democratic Action (ADA) argued that such causes employed by communist are causing tension in the country (Neville 55). 


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