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Scottsboro Boys - Second Chances

price trial patterson march

For the second trials, the ILD called in renowned New York attorney Samuel Leibowitz (see sidebar) for the defense. The Scottsboro Boys spent the next two years in prison in Decatur, Alabama, awaiting their March 1933 trial date. Haywood Patterson's case was separated from the other defendants and came before Judge James Horton on March 28.

A large crowd of demonstrators protesting the Scottsboro jury's condemnation of Haywood Patterson. (© Underwood & Underwood/Corbis)


The trial took a dramatic turn when Ruby Bates appeared for the defense to reverse her testimony from the first trial. She testified that she and Victoria Price had made up the rape story to avoid arrest themselves. They had feared possible charges of vagrancy or violation of the Mann Act (crossing state lines for immoral purposes). Bates said Price had encouraged her to make false accusations to direct attention away from their situation. Price, however, maintained her original testimony. Patterson was convicted and sentenced to die in the electric chair.

Since the arrest of the Scottsboro Boys in 1931, public support had been growing throughout Alabama, the United States, and around the world. Demonstrations calling for the release of the Scottsboro Boys occurred outside U.S. embassies throughout Europe. On May 1, 1931, some 300,000 black and white workers in 110 American cities protested the Scottsboro convictions in May Day celebrations. On May 5, 1933, a crowd marched on Washington, D.C., carrying a petition signed by 200,000 supporters demanding freedom for the Scottsboro Boys.

Scottsboro Boys - Continuing The Good Fight [next] [back] Scottsboro Boys - Samuel Leibowitz

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