Cover image for Accused! : the trials of the Scottsboro Boys : lies, prejudice, and the Fourteenth Amendment
Title:
Accused! : the trials of the Scottsboro Boys : lies, prejudice, and the Fourteenth Amendment
ISBN:
9781629797755
Edition:
1st ed.
Physical Description:
189 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.
Summary:
In 1931, nine teenagers were arrested as they traveled on a train through Scottsboro, Alabama. The youngest was thirteen, and all had been hoping to find something better at the end of their journey. But they never arrived. Instead, two white women falsely accused them of rape. The effects were catastrophic for the young men, who came to be known as the Scottsboro Boys. Being accused of raping a white woman in the Jim Crow south almost certainly meant death, either by a lynch mob or the electric chair. The Scottsboro boys found themselves facing one prejudiced trial after another, in one of the worst miscarriages of justice in U.S. history. They also faced a racist legal system, all-white juries, and the death penalty. Noted Sibert Medalist Larry Dane Brimner uncovers how the Scottsboro Boys spent years in Alabama's prison system, enduring inhumane conditions and torture. The extensive back matter includes an author's note, bibliography, index, and further resources and source notes.
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Summary

Summary

This chilling and harrowing account tells the story of the Scottsboro Boys, nine African-American teenagers who, when riding the rails during the Great Depression, found their lives destroyed after two white women falsely accused them of rape. Award-winning author Larry Dane Brimner explains how it took more than eighty years for their wrongful convictions to be overturned.

In 1931, nine teenagers were arrested as they traveled on a train through Scottsboro, Alabama. The youngest was thirteen, and all had been hoping to find something better at the end of their journey. But they never arrived. Instead, two white women falsely accused them of rape. The effects were catastrophic for the young men, who came to be known as the Scottsboro Boys. Being accused of raping a white woman in the Jim Crow south almost certainly meant death, either by a lynch mob or the electric chair. The Scottsboro boys found themselves facing one prejudiced trial after another, in one of the worst miscarriages of justice in U.S. history. They also faced a racist legal system, all-white juries, and the death penalty. Noted Sibert Medalist Larry Dane Brimner uncovers how the Scottsboro Boys spent years in Alabama's prison system, enduring inhumane conditions and torture. The extensive back matter includes an author's note, bibliography, index, and further resources and source notes.


Author Notes

Larry Dane Brimner was born in St. Petersburg, Florida, and spent his early childhood exploring Alaska's Kodiak Island. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in British Literature from San Diego State University, where he graduated cum laude, and later received advanced degrees in writing and curriculum development. During his twenty-year teaching career, he began to write for publication.

Brimner made his debut in children's books with the publication of BMX Freestyle in 1987. It was named an International Reading Association Children's Choice book for 1988. This title was followed by Country Bear's Good Neighbor, which the American Booksellers Association named their "Pick of the List." Brimner wrote A Migrant Family, which was named a Notable Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies (NCSS/CBC); Max and Felix , a nominee for the Kentucky Bluegrass Award; Voices From the Camps, cited as a Best Book for the Teen Age by New York Public Library; Snowboarding, an IRA Children's Choice for 1998; and the Official M&M'sĀ® Book of the Millennium, an IRA Children's Choice for 2000.

Brimner is the author of more than 110 books for young people. He also speaks to school children about the writing process or to teachers at conferences. In 2014 his title, Strike: The Farm Workers Fight for Their Rights, made the Civil Rights Hot Title's List.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

School Library Journal Review

Gr 8 Up--The setting: 1931, Jackson County, AL. Nine black boys between ages 13 and 20 "hoboing" aboard a freight train were rounded up by a white mob, charged with raping two white women, railroaded through a hasty trial with lackluster representation, and sentenced to death. Aided by the Communist Party and NAACP, the boys appealed their case, all the while terrorized by their jailers, lynch mobs, and the looming threat of the electric chair. Their story garnered international attention and two landmark Supreme Court decisions regarding jury representation. Nevertheless, each retrial resulted in a new conviction and draconian sentence, and the accused never fully recovered. Tightly wound, compelling, and comprehensive, Brimner's meticulously documented narrative re-creates the menacing atmosphere of Depression-era segregated courtrooms, atrocious carceral facilities, and a riven public. Extensive quotations offer a sense of each historical figure's character, from the boys on trial and their accusers to the officials handling cases and the captivated press. The text is enhanced with plentiful photographs, period news accounts and ephemera, and helpful sidebars offering broader context. Brimner draws parallels between the Scottsboro boys and present situations, reminding readers how far we've come--and how we continue to come up short. VERDICT This masterly account of an egregious episode in American history is (and will remain) vital reading. An essential acquisition.--Steven Thompson, Sadie Pope Dowdell Library, South Amboy, NJ


Kirkus Review

Brimner (Blacklisted!, 2018, etc.) revisits the history of injustice in America.Brimner has extensively researched the heartbreaking story of the suffering and stolen futures of nine African American teens falsely accused of the rape of two white women in Alabama in 1931, laying all the facts on the table in a concise, gripping volume. The engaging, easy-to-follow text will draw readers into a historical account that mirrors many of today's headlines. Ultimately, it took over 80 years for justice to finally be served for these young men; they were not fully exonerated until 2013. In the meantime, they were nearly lynched, attacked and beaten by guards, and faced execution. Even after they were released from prison, their lives were ruined, and they were never able to fully recover. The text is enhanced with primary sources including photos, newspaper clippings, ephemera, and court documents that give readers a sense of immediacy. The author's note provides context about the enduring impact of the trials. This volume stands as a reminder to readers that lies have consequences and that no matter how long it takes, "We need to right the wrongs that have been done in the past." The parallels between the perils the Scottsboro Boys endured and current news stories show the continued relevance of this history, making this a must-have for both school and public libraries.Engaging and historically accurate; highly recommended. (author's note, bibliography, source notes, index, picture credits) (Nonfiction. 13-adult) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Booklist Review

Brimner, who won the 2018 Sibert Award for his book Twelve Days in May: Freedom Ride 1961, now looks at the case of the Scottsboro boys, nine black teenagers who were arrested and falsely accused of raping two white women in 1931. The teenagers were riding the rails, hoping to find work in Alabama. Instead, they got into a fight with some white boys and were arrested when the train was stopped. But the fight wasn't the only trouble they found two white women who had been aboard the train accused them of rape. Brimner has his work cut out for himself in telling this complicated story. There are numerous accounts from defendants, witnesses, and lawyers; the perspective switches between the accused young men, who at times turn on each other; and the story contains important political and social elements, including an exploration of racism and the willingness of a Communist organization to defend the nine to promote its ideology. Not all the plates are kept in the air, but Brimner gives the narrative both heft and heart. The book's design uses black-and-white photos to good advantage. A solid look at a noteworthy event that touched upon many aspects of U.S. society.--Ilene Cooper Copyright 2010 Booklist