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The Trial of the Scottsboro Boys

Audrey Hickman, Bridgette Mitchell, Kaitlyn Zeigler

audrey hickman

on 30 January 2013

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Transcript of The Trial of the Scottsboro Boys

Audrey Hickman, Bridgette Mitchell, Kaitlyn Zeigler The Trial of the Scottsboro Boys just... or unjust? On March 25, 1931, four African American teens along with many others boarded a freight train headed to Chattanooga, Tennessee where the four - Haywood Patterson, Eugene Williams, and brothers Roy and Andy Wright - were looking for work. Amogst the whites were two young women, Victoria Price and Ruby Bates, who were returning to Huntsville, Alabama. Eight of the nine boys were found guilty of raping Victoria Price and Ruby Bates. They each were sentenced to death. The last boy, Roy Wright was only twelve at the time and was sentenced to life in prison. Later in 1932, the Alabama supreme court decided Eugene William, who was only thirteen should not have been trialed as an adult. With that, they decided that under the fourteenth amendment, the boys deserved a retrial. Trouble began when one of the white boys stepped on Patterson's hand and almost pushed Williams off the train. A fight started and ended with the white youths being thrown off the train by the blacks. After the white youths were off the train, they rushed to the nearest town, and told the stationmaster what they described as an assault by a gang of blacks. "The young black men hoboing on the train had no way of knowing they would soon be caught up in one of the most tragic examples of racial injustice in American History"(Aretha 1). At the first trial, the defence atterneys were very weak and unexperienced. They chose to have all nine boys be tried as a group. The trial ended up being very unjust racially. Six of the nine boys plead non-guilty denying all accusations. The other three boys plead guilty, due to the fact that they were beaten and threatened before the trial began. At the end of the first trial, each boy was found guilty. The two women, Victoria Price and Ruby Bates met with the white boys, and made a statement that would shake the south for years to come. They claimed that they had been raped by a gang of blacks, who had threated them with knives. Price accused six of the nine boys of rape. The guard at the scene assumed the other three had done it as well because they were in the same group. The boys would be struck by a bayonet (stabbing blade) anytime they denied the charges. The prosecution cross examied the two girls. From Price's answers, the defense found out she was a prostitute. After the alledged rape, there was no blood or bruises anywhere near Price. Victoria had lied about the rape to avoid trouble caused by her adultery. The defence also examined the doctors who treated Ruby and Victoria. They confirmed that they were not raped. When it came time for the jury to discuss, none of the evidence denying the rape changed the minds of the people in the courtroom. The Scottsboro boys were again convicted of rape. The Fates Patterson: 75 years in prison
Weems: 75 Years in prison
Powell: Shot in head, but survived. Rape charges were dropped, but not assualt charges.
A. Wright: 99 Years in prison
Norris: Death
Roberson, Montgomery, R. Wright, and Williams were free of all charges.
Weems, Powell, and A. Wright were all given parole.
By January 3, 1989 all of the Scottsboro boys were dead. Citations: "The Trial of the Scottsboro Boys" David Aretha

Linder, Doug. "Scottboro Boys." Scottboro Boys. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Jan. 2013.

"Scottsboro Boys, Trial and Defense Campaign (1931â1937) | The Black Past: Remembered and Reclaimed." Scottsboro Boys, Trial and Defense Campaign (1931â1937). N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Jan. 2013.
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