Collaboration of Burritt on the Mountain, Francis Tate with CEOTA,
John Allison and the Morgan County Archives, and The Scottsboro Boys Museum Scottsboro, AL
The Scottsboro Boys were nine African American young men, ages 12 to 20, falsely accused in Alabama of raping two white women on a train in 1931. The landmark set of legal cases from this incident dealt with racism and the right to a fair trial. The Scottsboro Boys spent the two years between their first trials and the second round of trials that begin in March 1933 in Decatur, in the deplorable conditions of Depression-Era Alabama prisons. It is commonly cited as an example of a gross miscarriage of justice in the United States legal system.
The Scottsboro Boy’s case is recognized internationally as one of the most infamous in legal history. The U.S. Supreme Court twice heard arguments in the case, leading to two landmark civil rights precedents: the right to counsel and nondiscrimination in juror rolls.
Burritt on the Mountain, Morgan County Archives, and CEOTA (Celebrating Early Old Town with Art) will commemorate the lives and legacy of nine young African American men who, in the 1930’s, became international symbols of race-based injustice in the American South. Visit the exhibit to see photos and artifacts from the trials. Also, see Tennessee River watercolor artwork detailing the Old Town community near Decatur that helped support the boys during their trials.
Join us on Saturday, May 15, as we hear the stories of the Scottsboro Boys, community members, lawyers, the sheriff, and the judge who heard their cases in Decatur. We will also celebrate the people who have worked to ensure that we remember their stories.
10am – The Scottsboro Boys: Who were They? – William Hampton
11am – Scottsboro: Decatur’s Story – Peggy Allen Towns
Noon – Honoring Shelia Washington
1pm – Pen Strokes of Justice: Judge Horton and the Scottsboro Boys – Rebekah Davis
3pm – Celebrating Early Old Town with Art – Frances D. Tate
It is only through remembering and comprehending the past that we can understand our present and move forward to a future of reconciliation. We encourage our community to join us in this journey from the past to our future.