University of Alabama Debuts Online Archive of Documents Relating to the Scottsboro Boys

scottsboroIn 1931, nine African American teenagers were accused of raping two White women on a train. The defendants were apprehended in Alabama and were tried, convicted, and sentenced to death in Scottsboro, Alabama. The case was appealed and dragged on for many years. During the appeals processes, one of the women who had claimed to have been raped recanted her story and said she had never been touched by the defendants. However, the guilty verdicts were upheld.

The case was heard by the U.S. Supreme Court twice. One case resulted in a decision that ruled African American were entitled to competent legal representation and the other required that Blacks be included in jury pools. Four convictions were eventually overturned, but seven of the original nine served time in prison. By 1989 all of the defendants were dead. But it was not until 2013 that the state of Alabama granted pardons to the Scottsboro Boys. The case was fully detailed in Professor Dan T. Carter’s book Scottsboro: A Tragedy of the American South (Louisiana State University Press, 1969).

Now the University of Alabama has established a new online archive about the case. The archive, “To See Justice Done: Letters from the Scottsboro Trials,” includes thousands of letters, documents, petitions, and telegrams that were sent to Alabama governors during the legal proceedings.

Ellen Spears, an associate professor of American studies at the University of Alabama, notes that “these archival materials show the breadth and depth of the demand for justice that was coming from all across the country and around the world. They provide an extraordinary primary resource for students and scholars of African American history and social justice.”

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Get the JBHE Weekly Bulletin

Receive our weekly email newsletter delivered to your inbox

Latest News

Johns Hopkins University Launches New Major and Center for Critical Study of Racism, Immigration, and Colonialism

The new Chloe Center for the Critical Study of Racism, Immigration, and Colonialism will provide research opportunities and educational events for the Johns Hopkins University community. As part of the new program, the university has announced a new undergraduate major in critical diaspora studies.

Chicago Library Receives $2 Million to Digitize Collection of African American History and Literature

The Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection housed within the Chicago Public Library will soon be available online to the public thanks to a $2 million grant from the Mellon Foundation.

Online Articles That May Be of Interest to JBHE Readers

Each week, JBHE will provide links to online articles that may be of interest to our readers. Here are this week’s selections.

Recent Books of Interest to African American Scholars

The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education regularly publishes a list of new books that may be of interest to our readers. The books included are on a wide variety of subjects and present many different points of view.

Featured Jobs