Scottsboro Boys

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March 25, 1931

March 25 1931

Posse stops Southern Railroad train in Paint Rock, Alabama. Scottsboro boys are arrested on charges of assault. Rape charges are added against all nine boys after accusations are made by Victoria Price and Ruby Bates.

March 26, 1931

March 26, 1931

Scottsboro boys are nearly lynched by crowd of over 100 gathered around Scottsboro's jail.

March 30, 1931

March 30, 1931

Grand jury indicts the nine Scottsboro boys for rape.

April-December 1931

April 1931 - December 1931

NAACP and International Labor Defense (ILD) battle for the right to represent the Scottsboro boys.

April 6, 1931

April 6, 1931

Trials begin in Scottboro before Judge A. E. Hawkins.

April 7-9, 1931

April 7, 1931 - April 9, 1931

Clarence Norris, Charlie Weems, Haywood Patterson, Olen Montgomery, Ozie Powell, Willie Roberson, Eugene Williams, and Andy Wright are tried and convicted, and sentenced to death. The trial of Roy Wright ends in a mistrial when some jurors hold out for a death sentence even though the prosecution asked for life imprisonment.

June 22, 1931

June 22, 1931

Executions are stayed pending appeal to Alabama Supreme Court.

July 10, 1931

July 10, 1931

On the date first set for their executions, the Scottsboro boys listen to the execution of Willie Stokes, the first of ten blacks to be executed at the prison over the next ten years. After hearing gruesome reports of the execution, many of the boys report nightmares or sleepless nights.

January 1932

January 1932

NAACP withdraws from case. Ruby Bates, in a letter to a Earl Streetman, denies that she was raped.

March-May 1932

March 1932 - May 1932

Alabama Supreme Court, by a vote of 6-1, affirms the convictions of seven of the boys. The conviction of Eugene Williams is reversed on the grounds that he was a juvenile under state law in 1931.
May, 1932-The U. S. Supreme Court announces that it will review the Scottsboro cases.

November 1932

November 1932

The Supreme Court, by a vote of 7-2, reverses the convictions of the Scottsboro boys in Powell vs. Alabama. Grounds for reversal are that Alabama failed to provide adequate assistance of counsel as required by the due process clause of the 14th Amendment.

January 1933

January 1933

Samuel S. Leibowitz, a New York lawyer, is retained by the ILD to defend the Scottsboro boys.

March-April 1933

March 27, 1933 - April 9, 1933

March 27, 1933- Haywood Patterson's second trial begins in Decatur before judge James Horton.
April 9, 1933- Haywood Patterson found guilty by jury and sentenced to death in the electric chair.

April 18, 1933

April 18, 1933

Judge Horton postpones the trials of the other Scottsboro boys because of dangerously high local tensions.

June 22, 1933

June 22, 1933

Judge Horton sets aside Haywood Patterson's conviction and grants a new trial.

November-December 1933

November 1933 - December 1933

Haywood Patterson and Clarence Norris are tried for rape, convicted, and sentenced to death

June 1934

June 1934

Judge Horton, who had faced no opposition in his previous race, is defeated in his bid for re-election.

Alabama Supreme Court affirms the convictions of Haywood and Norris.

October 1934

October 1934

Two lawyers are charged with attempting to bribe Victoria Price in order to change her testimony.

April 1, 1935

April 1, 1935

The U.S. Supreme Court overturns the convictions of Norris and Patterson because African Americans were excluded from sitting on the juries in their trials. Patterson v. State of Alabama, 294 U.S. 600 (1935); Norris v. State of Alabama, 294 U.S. 587 (1935)

December 1935

December 1935

The Scottsboro Defense Committee is organized.

January 23, 1936

January 23, 1936

Haywood Patterson is convicted for a fourth time of rape and is sentenced to 75 years in prison.

January 24, 1936

January 24, 1936

Ozzie Powell is shot in the head while attacking an officer

July 1937

July 1937

Clarence Norris is convicted of rape and sentenced to death. Andy Wright is convicted and sentenced to 99 years for rape. Charlie Weems is convicted and sentenced to 75 years. Ozzie Powell pleads guilty to assaulting the sheriff and is sentenced to 20 years.

July 24, 1937

July 24, 1937

Roy Wright, Eugene Williams, Olen Montgomery and Willie Roberson were released after all charges were dropped against them.

July 5, 1938

July 5, 1938

Clarence Norris's death sentence is reduced to life in prison by Governor Graves.

September 1943

September 1943

Charlie Weems is paroled.

January 1944

January 1944

Norris and Andy Wright are paroled.

September 1944

September 1944

Norris and Wright leave Montgomery in violation of their paroles.

October 1944

October 1944

Norris is returned to prison.

September 1946

September 1946

Norris, paroled again, leaves Alabama.

October 1946

October 1946

Andy Wright is returned to Kilby prison.

July 1948

July 1948

Haywood Patterson escapes from prison.

June 1950

June 1950

Andy Wright is paroled. FBI arrests Patterson, but Michigan's governor refuses extradition to Alabama.

December 1950

December 1950

Patterson is involved in a barroom fight resulting in the death of another man. Haywood is charged with murder.

September 1951

September 1951

Patterson is convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 6 to 15 years. He dies of cancer less than a year later.

July 1977

July 1977

Victoria Price's suit against NBC for its movie "Judge Horton and the Scottsboro Boys," which she claimed defamed her and invaded her privacy, is dismissed. Price dies five years later.

January 23 1989

January 1989

Clarence Norris, the last surviving Scottsboro boy, dies at age 76.