Untitled timeline


Scottsboro brothers are arrested

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

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


March 30 1931

Grand jury indicts the nine Scottsboro boys of rape.

NAACP battle

April 1931 - December 1931

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

Trials Begin

April 6 1931

Trial begins in Scottsboro before judge A.E Hawkins

Sentencing to Death.

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

Executions are stayed pending appeal to Alabama Supreme Court.

Execution of Willie Stokes

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

NAACP withdraws from case.


January 5 1932

Ruby Bates, in a letter to a Earl Streetman, denies that she was raped.

Alabama Supreme Court

March 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.

Review of Scottsboro

May 1932

The U. S. Supreme Court announces that it will review the Scottsboro cases.

Reverse convictions

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.

Samuel S. Leibowitz

January 1933

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

Second trial

March 27 1933

Haywood Patterson's second trial begins in Decatur before judge James Horton.

Electric Chair

April 9 1933

Haywood Patterson found guilty by jury and sentenced to death in the electric chair.

Tension uprises

April 18 1933

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

Thousands march in protest

May 7 1933

In one of many protests around the country thousands march in Washington protesting the Alabama trials of the Scottsboro boys.

Haywood Patterson

June 22 1933

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