U.S. civil-rights controversy. In April 1931, in Scottsboro, Ala., nine African American youths were charged with the rape of two white women. Despite testimony by doctors that no rape had occurred, the all-white jury convicted them and sentenced all but the youngest to death. In 1932, following public outcry, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the convictions on the grounds that the defendants had not received adequate legal counsel. Alabama retried and convicted one of the youths; this conviction too was overturned by the Supreme Court on the grounds that African Americans had been systematically excluded from the state's juries. Alabama retried and reconvicted the defendants individually, but the state yielded to public pressure and freed or paroled all but one, who later escaped.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
For the full entry on Scottsboro case, visit Britannica.com.
Seen & Heard
What made you look up Scottsboro case? Please tell us what you were reading, watching or discussing that led you here.