No crime in American history - let alone a crime that never occurred - produced as many trials, convictions, reversals, and retrials as did an alleged gang rape of two white girls by nine black teenagers on a Southern Railroad freight run on March 25, 1931. Over the course of the two decades that followed, the struggle for justice of the Scottsboro Boys, as the black teens were called, made celebrities out of anonymities, launched and ended careers, wasted lives, produced heroes, opened southern juries to blacks, exacerbated sectional strife, and divided America's political left.
Douglas O. Linder,
The Trials of the Scottsboro Boys,
Available at: https://irlaw.umkc.edu/faculty_works/894