Little Known Black History Fact: New Ruling for the Scottsboro Boys

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During Powell’s transportation to prison, he managed to get a pen from the deputy and stabbed him in fear of being killed on the way to prison. He was shot in the head but survived with brain damage.

Even though the men were either paroled or exonerated, they carried the stigma of “The Scottsboro Boys” throughout their lives. Some developed drinking problems, contracted tuberculosis in prison, suffered from depression and mental illness and one, Roy Wright, shot his wife and committed suicide after returning from the war in 1959. Some of them also assumed aliases in an attempt to live a normal life.

In 1976, Clarence Norris obtained a pardon from Governor George C. Wallace and the state parole board.

The legacy of the Scottsboro Boys is within the Scottsboro Boys Museum and Cultural Center in Scottsboro. It is told first hand in Haywood Patterson’s book “Scottsboro Boy” (1950). The prison escapee was found by the FBI shortly after the book’s publication. Twenty-nine years later, Clarence Norris wrote “The Last of the Scottsboro Boys.” Norris was the last of the group to pass away in 1989.

This week, the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles has granted full posthumous pardons for three of the nine boys accused of the rape in 1931. Haywood Patterson, Charlie Weems and Andy Wright were the final three accused who had not received a pardon for the crime they did not commit.

Last year, the state of Alabama passed legislation that the courts could issue pardons for cases up to 75 years old. The judgment was passed specifically for the Scottsboro case.

(Photo: AP)

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