Scottsboro Boys


Scottsboro Trials

1931 - 1973

March 25th (just got off of the train)


A stone-throwing fight erupted between white youths and a larger group of black youths. Eventually, the blacks succeeded in forcing all but one of the members of the white gang off the train

march 25th (mid-day)


Two dozen or so mainly male--and mainly young--whites and blacks rode the Southern Railroad's Chattanooga to Memphis freight on March 25, 1931. Among them were four black Chattanooga teenagers hoping to investigate a rumor of government jobs in Memphis hauling logs on the river and five other black teens from various parts of Georgia.

March 25th (at night)


Nine black teens gang rape two white girls



The U.S. Supreme Court overturned the convictions (Powell v. Alabama) because the defendants had not received enough legal counsel in the case.

June 22nd


On June 22, 1933, Judge James Horton, described as looking like "Lincoln without the beard," convened court in his hometown of Athens, Alabama to hear a defense motion for a new trial

April 8th


At one o'clock on April 8, 1933, the jury was sent out to deliberate the fate of Haywood Patterson after Judge Horton reminded the jury that "You are not trying lawyers; you are not trying state lines."



blacks cannot be systematically excluded from criminal juries

February 15th


the United States Supreme Court heard arguments in the Patterson and Norris cases.

July 12th


Seven of the nine Scottsboro Boys had been held in jail for over six years without trial by the time jury selection began in the third trial of Clarence Norris on Monday, July 12, 1937.

Clarence Norris


The last known surviving member of the group, fled to the North after his parole in 1946 and was granted a full pardon by the Governor of Alabama in 1976.

Haywood patterson


Patterson escaped and fled to Michigan, where, three years later, he was convicted of manslaughter and died in prison.