The Scottsboro Boys:

17. What were The Scottsboro Boys known for? Who were they? What did they do? How did they get in so much trouble?

The Scottsboro Boys were a group of nine black teenagers that went on trial in 1931 for the alleged gang hit on a group of young white men, and the rape of Victoria Price. The Scottsboro boys had gotten on a train with a group of young white men and two white women, when a stone throwing fight erupted and all of the white men were forced off of the rain except for one. Orville Gilley was the one remaining white man on the train, all of the other men had gone to the train stationmaster to report what they had described as an assault committed by a gang of blacks. Trails went on for these young men for decades, causing it to be an extremely famous trial.

18. The Scottsboro Boys’ attorneys were extremely incompetent. How did the defence attorneys show their lack of experience?

The Scottsboro boys’ defence attorneys were not fit for this job in any way. Stephen Roddy and Milo Moody were the boys’ defendants, Roddy was an unpaid and unprepared real estate attorney and Moody was an absent minded seventy year old local attorney who hadn’t taken on a case in decades. The lawyers showed their amateur ways when they insisted on having all nine defendants tried together, instead of having the men be tried in groups of two or three. The cross-examination of Victoria Price only took minutes, her statement and the statement of Ruby Bates were never questioned or second guessed. The Scottsboro Boys’ had no other witnesses to say that the boys did not commit the crime, so the defence offered only the defendants as witnesses. The defendants/witnesses’ statements sometimes didn’t fit together with the other statements, and were rigged with obvious misstatements. Six of the boys denied raping or ever even seeing the two women, but three others, all who later claimed that a gang rape by the other defendants did in fact occur. Clarence Norris later gave what one paper dibbed as the “Highlight of the trial” when he said “They all raped her, every one of them.” No closing arguments were ever offered by the defence attorneys.

19. Were the Scottsboro Boys ever pardoned of their wrongful convictions?

After many trials over a long period of time, Governor Gibb Graves wanted to pardon the five remaining Scottsboro boys, (the other four’s charges were dropped), But when Graves went to interview the remaining boys, none of the interviews went over easily. Haywood Patterson was found with a knife during security check, he claimed it was for protection, but the guards automatically assumed the worst. The five boys were eventually left on parole, not including Patterson, who had escaped from prison and  published a book, but was then caught by the FBI.

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