The Scottsboro Trials


All 9 Boys are arrested


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.

The trail begin

4/6/1931 - 4/9/1931

Trials begin in Scottboro before Judge A. E. Hawkins. Eight of the nine men were given death sentence,despite the fact one of the men was blind, another underage,and that they were not even in the same rail car. 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.

Executions may be appealed


Executions are stayed pending appeal to Alabama Supreme Court.

A letter of denial


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

Reversed convictions


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.

Fresh eyes on the case


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

A new trail


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.

The second trails begin

3/27/1933 - 4/9/1933

Haywood Patterson's second trial begins in Decatur before judge James Horton. Haywood Patterson found guilty by jury and sentenced to death in the electric chair.

The trails postponed


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

Yet another trail


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

A new judge


The Scottsboro cases are removed from Judge Horton's jurisdiction and transferred to Judge William Callahan's court.

Convicted again

11/1933 - 12/1933

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



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

convictions overturned again


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

convicted a 4th time


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

more convictions


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.

charges dropped


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

reviews denied


The U.S. Supreme Court declines to review the Patterson and Norris convictions.

death sentence reduced


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

pardons denied


Alabama Pardon Board declines to pardon Patterson and Powell.

3 more pardons denied


Pardon Board denies the pardon applications of Norris, Weems, and Roy Wright.

1st parole


Charlie Weems is paroled.

more paroles


Norris and Andy Wright are paroled.

paroles violated


Norris and Wright leave Montgomery in violation of their paroles.

Norris is returned to prison.


Ozzie Powell is paroled.


Norris, paroled again, leaves Alabama.


Andy Wright is returned to Kilby prison.


Haywood Patterson escapes from prison


Patterson gets caught


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

Charged with murder


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

Convicted of murder


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

Last boy pardoned


Clarence Norris is pardoned by Alabama Governor George Wallace.