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April 5, 2013

Legislature approves measure that would pardon Scottsboro Boys

Move comes 80 years after their rape convictions

— It was a long overdue apology Alabama lawmakers offered Thursday in allowing for posthumous pardons of the Scottsboro Boys, the nine young black men wrongly convicted by all-white juries of raping two white women in 1931.

The House voted 103-0 to approve a bill Thursday morning that sets up a process to allow the pardons. The Senate passed it 29-0 earlier. The bill awaits signing by Gov. Robert Bentley to become law.

The move to pardon comes more than 80 years after the miscarriage of justice was visited upon the boys in Morgan County. Still, the leader of the state NAACP, is pleased it came.

“It’s long overdue,” said Benard Simelton, of Harvest, upon learning of the Legislature’s actions Thursday. “It’s about time we correct some of the wrongs done to these young men back then. We can never really repay the debt for what they suffered, but this is certainly a step in the right direction. I hope the governor does not hesitate to sign it.”

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