Racism of The Scottsboro Boys / Why it is an Important Story

The Scottsboro  Boys were a group of boys that got in trouble on a train. They were riding over to Tennessee to look for a job. Then a group of whites caused some trouble with them. The Scottsboro Boys were accused of raping two females. For many years the story was spread around. People were widely discussing the tragedy of the boys and how it was all because of racism. The boys never did anything that should have resulted in punishment.

The Scottsboro Boys were not supposed to be where the incident had gotten them. The boys were accused of a crime they did not commit. According to Encyclopedia of Alabama,”…when a fight broke out between groups of young black and white passengers riding a freight train through Jackson County…” The boys did not do anything. They were being picked on by other white passengers. The boys never did anything but ride a train looking for jobs. Only a few of them knew each other. ”The white boys were forced from the train and wired ahead to the next stop… local police and a mob apprehended nine African Americans ranging in age from 13 to 20.” While the white boys were just forced off the train, the African American boys got arrested. Some of the boys were 13 and most of them were older. This shows how the racism could affect the lives of many people because they were taking the lives of people that were not young enough to experience enough in life. Miss Hollace Ransdall described in her article, The First Scottsboro Trials, “The train is stopped by an angry posse in Paint Rock, Alabama, and nine black youths are arrested for assault. Rape charges are added, following accusations from two white women…” The boys were about to get arrested and charged for rape and assault. The boys got charged for something they didn’t start. They were accused just because there happened to be two women involved that said the African American men did it. The boys did not have to get in trouble. The whites caused them pain.

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When the Scottsboro Boys went to court, they were treated badly, but the judge tried to protect the boys. The judge knew what was happening was wrong. In the article, The Scottsboro Boys: Injustice in Alabama,”Norris later explained his testimony: ‘We was scared and I don’t know what I said. They [the prison guards] told us if we didn’t confess they’d kill us—give us to the mob outside.’” Norris is speaking in court about the guards telling them that they had to tell the truth. And instead of saying it nicely, they threatened them. The guards would not have said that to someone that was white. In the article of The First Scottsboro Trials, it states”…later made investigations of various phases of the case not brought out at the trial…” The trial was looked into. They made investigations of the case and did not want to show what they found in the investigation at the trial. People did not want to show info at the trial that can expose them.”…they made no charges against the Negroes, until after they were taken into custody; that their charges were made after they had found out the spirit of the armed men that came to meet the train and catch the Negroes…” At first the boys were not charged. Then they were charged when the police apprehended them, and had the story explained to them. The boys had no idea that something bad was going to happen. The whites that started the fight told them a lie. The trial definitely was not fair. There was no one else to defend the boys but the judge.

The whole problem of The Scottsboro Boys started because of racism. At the time, it was hard for all people of color to do something ”Examples of racism are rampant throughout the first half of 20th century United States history, but are usually left out.” This person that wrote about how racism was big in the time that the Scottsboro boys were around. It was all wrong for the whites to tell the authorities lies. In an article discussing the racism of the Scottsboro Boys event, ”The Scottsboro case is a particularly important in understanding the systematic structure of racism in our country.” Racism back then was especially important to know about. The case of the Scottsboro boys was really racist. Only a few times there was not too much racism, (When the judge stood up for the boys). The article of The Scottsboro Boys: Injustice in Alabama says,”Meanwhile, several of those forced to jump off had run back to the Stevenson depot and accused the black youths of assaulting them.” It was bad for the whites to start the fight, but they made it worse when they told the lie to the authorities. Racism is one of the key elements of why the Scottsboro Boys got in trouble and ended up in a bad place.

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The Scottsboro Boys incident will be known for a long time. The boys did nothing to deserve what had happen to them. But what if the white people did not start the fight and nothing had happened on that train?


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