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Scottsboro Trial - Did You Know . . .

black white sentence woman

  • Nineteenth-century criminal laws were clearly racially discriminatory. For example, a Georgia law specified a mandatory death sentence for rape of a white woman by a black man. A white man raping a white woman led to a two- to twenty-year sentence. Rape of a black woman had no mandatory sentence. Versions of such laws particularly in the southern United States carried on into the twentieth century.
  • The Scottsboro case divided the northern and southern states more sharply than any racial event since the American Civil War (1861–65; war in the United States between the Union [North], who was opposed to slavery, and the Confederacy [South], who was in favor of slavery).
  • Ultimately, none of the Scottsboro Boys were executed. The application of the death penalty against blacks, however, has drawn much attention in the criminal justice system and in the general public. Nationwide over half—55 percent—of those individuals executed between 1930 and 1991 were black.
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