1935 December 27

Scottsboro Defense Committee Organized


The Scottsboro Defense Committee was formed on this day to coordinate the defense of nine African-American men who were accused of raping a white woman in Scottsboro, Alabama on March 25, 1931. The Scottsboro case was the first civil rights case to receive national attention. The defense committee was organized to coordinate defense efforts that had, up to this point, included different lawyers and organizations.

Two Scottsboro cases had already resulted in landmark Supreme Court decisions: Powell v. Alabama on November 7, 1932, on the right to an attorney in death penalty cases, and Patterson v. Alabama on April 1, 1935, on the denial of due process because of race discrimination in jury selection. Issues surrounding the case continued into the 1950s. The Scottsboro case finally came to an end 80 years later, when Alabama issued posthumous pardons to three of the defendants on November 21, 2013.

Read: Dan T. Carter, Scottsboro: a Tragedy of the American South (1969)

Douglas O. Linder: “No crime in American history — let alone a crime that never occurred — produced as many trials, convictions, reversals, and retrials as did an alleged gang rape of two white girls by nine black teenagers on the Southern Railroad freight run from Chattanooga to Memphis on March 25, 1931.”

The quote and more about the case: http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/scottsboro/scottsb.htm

Watch a documentary on the Scottsboro case: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TmsYLmqx3wg

Read a memoir by one of the defendants: Haywood Patterson and Earl Conrad, Scottsboro Boy (1950)

Find a Day

Abortion Rights ACLU african-americans Alice Paul anti-communism Anti-Communist Hysteria Birth Control Brown v. Board of Education Censorship CIA Civil Rights Civil Rights Act of 1964 Cold War Espionage Act FBI First Amendment Fourteenth Amendment freedom of speech Free Speech Gay Rights Hate Speech homosexuality Hoover, J. Edgar HUAC Japanese American Internment King, Dr. Martin Luther Ku Klux Klan Labor Unions Lesbian and Gay Rights Loyalty Oaths McCarthy, Sen. Joe New York Times Obscenity Police Misconduct Same-Sex Marriage Separation of Church and State Sex Discrimination Smith Act Spying Spying on Americans Vietnam War Voting Rights Voting Rights Act of 1965 War on Terror Watergate White House Women's Rights Women's Suffrage World War I World War II Relocation Camps


Tell Us What You Think

We want to hear your comments, criticisms and suggestions!