The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

February 5, 2013

Legislation would exonerate Scottsboro Boys

— MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — In 1931, Alabama wanted to execute the black Scottsboro Boys because two white women claimed they were gang-raped. Now, state officials are trying to exonerate them in a famous case from the segregated South that some consider the beginning of the modern civil rights movement.

Two Democratic and two Republican legislators unveiled proposals Monday for the legislative session starting Tuesday. A resolution labels the Scottsboro Boys as "victims of a series of gross injustice" and declares them exonerated. A companion bill gives the state parole board the power to issue posthumous pardons.

Republican Sen. Arthur Orr of Decatur said Alabama can't change history, "but that does not that mean we should not take steps today to address things that we can here in the 21st century that might not have been as they should have been."

Gov. Robert Bentley's press secretary, Jennifer Ardis, said he supports the effort to pardon the Scottsboro Boys and believes "it's time to right this wrong."

Sheila Washington, founder of the Scottsboro Boys Museum and Cultural Center in Scottsboro, started organizing the effort after the museum opened in 2010.

The museum chronicles how race and sex intersected in the segregated South on March 25, 1931, when a sheriff's posse stopped a train at Paint Rock. Nine black youths, ages 12 to 19, were hoboing on the train and thought they were being arrested for fighting with whites on the train. Instead, they were accused of gang-raping two white women who were also riding the freight train.

The nine, from Georgia and Tennessee, went on trial in Scottsboro and were convicted by an all-white jury. 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, while four were convicted during their retrials.

Text Only
State and Nation
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
Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites
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