The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

February 21, 2013

Alabama Senate votes to pardon Scottsboro Boys

— MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The Alabama Legislature has taken major steps toward clearing the names of the Scottsboro Boys, more than 80 years after the young black men were convicted by all-white juries of raping two white women.

The Senate voted 29-0 Thursday for legislation allowing the state parole board to issue posthumous pardons for the eight Scottsboro Boys. State law currently does not permit posthumous pardons. The bill, sponsored by Republican Sen. Arthur Orr of Decatur, is narrowly tailored for the Scottsboro Boys.

"Does it change history? Of course it doesn't," Orr said. But he said it is a step toward trying to right "an unfortunate event in our state history."

The bill now moves to the House, where House Speaker Mike Hubbard, R-Auburn, predicted it will pass overwhelmingly.

"It was not a pretty part of our state's history," Hubbard said.

The House passed a resolution Feb. 14 saying the Scottsboro Boys "were the victims of a gross injustice" and are considered exonerated by the Legislature. That resolution, sponsored by Democratic Rep. John Robinson of Scottsboro, is awaiting a vote in the Senate.

The nine black youths from Georgia and Tennessee were accused of raping two white women on a train in north Alabama in 1931. They were convicted by an all-white jury during a racially charged trial in Scottsboro. All but the youngest received a death sentence but later won new trials. One of the women recanted her story. Five of the Scottsboro Boys eventually had the rape charges dropped, but four did not.

In 1976, the only known living Scottsboro Boy, Clarence Norris, obtained a pardon from then-Gov. George C. Wallace and the state parole board. At the time, there was talk of trying to do something for Andy and Roy Wright, Haywood Patterson, Olen Montgomery, Charlie Weems, Ozie Powell, William Roberson and Eugene Williams. But nothing happened, and then little was said after Norris died in 1989.

Sheila Washington, founder of the Scottsboro Boys Museum and Cultural Center in Scottsboro, got the pardon effort restarted after the museum opened in 2010.

"I knew one day that justice would prevail, and it looks like that time has come," she said Thursday.

1
Text Only
Local News
Photos


Poll

Which foreign crisis is the biggest threat to the security of the United States?

Russia-Ukraine
Israel-Palestine
Iraq
None of the above
     View Results
Facebook
AP Video
Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN
Twitter Updates
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Stocks
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Business Marquee