The Scottsboro Trials


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The Scottsboro Trials

  1. 1. Ronald Dombroski & Ryan Dunwoody
  2. 2.  A fight breaks out between white and black men riding as hoboes on a southern Railroad freight train. Nine black boys are arrested for assault by an angry posse in Paint Rock, Alabama. Later gang rape charges were added following accusations from two white women who were also on the train Victoria Price and Ruby Bates.
  3. 3. Victoria Price AccusersRuby BatesHaywood PattersonCharles WeemsClarence NorrisAndy WrightOzzie Powell "The Scottsboro Boys”Olen MontgomeryEugene WilliamsWillie RobersonRoy WrightSamuel Leibowitz Defense AttorneyThomas Knight Prosecutor
  4. 4.  The man to call if you were charged with a capital crime Leibowitz had represented seventy-eight people charged with first-degree murder His record over that period was seventy-seven acquittals, one hung jury, and no convictions. Received a call from the International Labor Defense Asked him whether he would defend the Scottsboro Boys in their new trials
  5. 5. -April 7-9 The Scottsboro boys excluding Roy Wright are tried and convicted, and sentenced to death. The trial of Roy Wright -age 13- ends in a mistrial when 11 jurors hold out for a death sentence while one juror asked for life imprisonment. The conviction of Hay wood Patterson was the first conviction under Samuel Leibowitz in 15 years. The NAACP gets involved to raise money for the defendants -June 22 The execution of the boys was held up pending appeal to the Alabama Supreme Court.
  6. 6.  seventeen years old Lived in a poor neighborhood of Huntsville, Alabama Always very vague about the rape accusations Many believe she made the whole thing up to gain publicity
  7. 7.  Samuel Leibowitz agrees not to charge lawyer fees to the boys The NAACP withdrawals from the case -March 27, 1932 Haywood Patterson’s retrial begins before Judge James Horton Ruby Bates testified as a witness and denied any occurrence of rape. Patterson is still found guilty and sentenced to death by electric chair. -June 22, 1933 Judge Horton sets new trials.
  8. 8. -April 1st, 1935 The US Supreme Court finds that there was an obvious violation of the 14th amendment that states: qualifying blacks can be on a jury. The Scottsboro trials were held with a biased, all-white jury. -January, 1936 Patterson is found guilty and sentenced to 75 years in prison Ozzie Powell slit a deputy’s throat on a bus ride back to the Birmingham jail. He was later shot in the head by a sheriff.(both Ozzie and the deputy lived)
  9. 9. Haywood Patterson- sentenced to 75 years in 1937; escapes prison in 1948; arrested by FBI agents in 1950 and charged with murder in a bar fight, soon dies in prisonCharles Weems- sentenced to 75 years in 1937; released on parole in 1938;Clarence Norris- sentenced to death in 1937; 1939 sentence is life imprisonment; released on parole in 1944;Andy Wright- sentenced to 99 years; released on parole in 1951Ozzie Powell- 20 years for assaulting an officer, rape dropped; released on parole in 1946Olen MontgomeryEugene Williams charges droppedWillie RobersonRoy Wright
  10. 10.  The author, Harper Lee, felt that the Scottsboro trials were an ugly reminder of racial bigotry The Scottsboro Trials share several similarities with the fictional trial of Tom Robinson in the book. Both the fictional and real trials had all-white juries. In the South of the 1930s
  11. 11.  The first trial began just twelve days after the arrest and lasted only three days. This was entirely too fast to have a thought out, unbiased verdict. In spite of evidence of the men’s innocence, eight of the nine men were found guilty and, at first, sentenced to death. The extreme sentences and hasty trial left many observers outraged, and rightfully so.
  12. 12. "American Experience | Scottsboro: An American Tragedy." PBS: Public BroadcastingService. UNCTB, 1999. Web. 19 Oct. 2011. <>.Johnson, Claudia Durst. "The Scottsboro Trails." Oracle ThinkQuest. 1999. Web. 19 Oct. 2011.<>.Linder, Douglas O. "The Trials of The Scottsboro Boys." UMKC School of Law. 1999. Web. 19Oct. 2011. <>.Salter, Daren. "Scottsboro Trials." Encyclopedia of Alabama. University of Washington, 6Feb. 2008. Web. 19 Oct. 2011. <>."To Kill A Mockingbird and the Scottsboro Boys Trial: Profiles in Courage | EDSITEment."EDSITEment | The Best of the Humanities on the Web. McGraw-Hill. Web. 19 Oct. 2011.<>.