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Alabama issues posthumous pardons to 'Scottsboro Boys'

Scottsboro Boys Pardon


In this July 16, 1937 file photo, Charlie Weems, left, and Clarence Norris, Scottsboro case defendants, read a newspaper in their Decatur, Ala. jail after Norris was found guilty for a third time by a jury which specified the death penalty. Weems was to be tried a week later. Nine black teenagers known as the Scottsboro Boys were convicted by all-white juries of raping two white women on a train in Alabama in 1931. All but the youngest were sentenced to death, even though one of the women recanted her story. All eventually got out of prison, but only one received a pardon before he died.

Scottsboro Boys

Jay Reeves/AP

This Feb. 10, 2010 photo taken in Scottsboro, Ala., shows the Jackson County (Ala.) Sentinel from April 2, 1931, when nine young black men called ``The Scottsboro Boys'' were arrested on charges of raping two white women. The charges were later revealed as a sham, and the case gained notice worldwide. A new museum documenting the case has opened in Scottsboro. Only one of the nine Scottsboro Boys was formally pardoned by Alabama before dying. State officials would like to clear the names of the other eight, but figuring out how to rewrite history after 81 years is proving difficult.

Three African-American men falsely convicted of rape more than 80 years ago were pardoned today. The Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles voted unanimously this morning to posthumously pardon the men in the "Scottsboro Boys" rape case.

Back in 1931, nine black teens were convicted of raping two white women on a freight train. Because of the many judicial injustices, the case has become a symbol for racial inequality in the South.

For more on the significance of this pardon, we're joined by Lecia Brooks of the Southern Poverty Law Center.

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