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March 25: In the depths of the Depression, a fight breaks out between white and black young men who are riding as hoboes on a Southern Railroad freight train. 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 who have also come off the train, Victoria Price and Ruby Bates. The accused are taken to Scottsboro, Alabama, the Jackson County seat. The women are examined by Drs. R. R. Bridges and Marvin Lynch.

News of the incident spreads quickly; the Jackson County Sentinel, printed that evening, decries the "revolting crime." White outrage erupts over the allegations, and a lynch mob gathers at the Scottsboro jail, prompting the sheriff to call Alabama Governor Benjamin Meeks Miller. Governor Miller in turn calls in the National Guard to protect the jail and its prisoners.

March 30: A grand jury indicts all nine "Scottsboro Boys."

April 6-7: Before Judge A. E. Hawkins, Clarence Norris and Charlie Weems are tried, convicted, and sentenced to death.

Police outside of trialApril 7-8: Haywood Patterson is tried, convicted, and sentenced to death.

April 8-9: Olen Montgomery, Ozie Powell, Willie Roberson, Eugene Williams, and Andy Wright are tried, convicted, and sentenced to death.

April 9: The case against Roy Wright, aged 13, ends in a hung jury when 11 jurors seek a death sentence, and one votes for life imprisonment.

April-December: Shocked by the speedy trials, the extreme youth of the defendants, and the severity of the sentences, progressive national organizations take up the Scottsboro case and call for the country to reject the "Alabama frame-up." The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the International Labor Defense (I.L.D.) court the defendants, their parents, and public opinion for the right to represent the young men in an appeal, and raise money for their defense.

June 22: The executions of the defendants are stayed pending appeal to the Alabama Supreme Court.


January: The NAACP withdraws from the case.

Ruby BatesJanuary 5: A letter from Ruby Bates to a boyfriend surfaces; in it, she denies having been raped.

March 24: The Alabama Supreme Court, voting 6-1, upholds the convictions of seven of the defendants, granting Eugene Williams a new trial because he was a juvenile at the time of his conviction.

May 27: The United States Supreme Court agrees to hear the case.

November 7: In Patterson v. Alabama, the U.S. Supreme Court rules that the defendants were denied the right to counsel, which violated their right to due process under the Fourteenth Amendment. The cases are remanded to the lower court.




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