It was one of the most renowned cases of the 20th century that highlighted issues of racism and the right to a fair trial. The Scottsboro Boys were nine Black teenagers accused of raping two white women in Alabama. The case involved a series of trials that began on this day in 1931. The three trials took place in Scottsboro, Alabama, where the defendants received poor legal representation and they were convicted by all-white juries. During one of the later trials, one of the alleged victims admitted that the story was fabricated and testified that none of the Scottsboro defendants touched either of the white women. Nonetheless, the jury found them guilty. Their case became the subject of widespread outrage, particularly in the North. The arrests and trials became symbols to a generation of Americans of racism in the legal system. It has since been the topic upon which music, film and television productions were based.
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(Photo: Brown Brothers/Encyclopedia of Alabama)