The case of the “Scottsboro Boys” in 1931 proves that real-life stories, are in fact, stranger and more shocking than the made-up stuff can ever be.
The Alabama case of nine African American teenagers falsely charged with the rape of two white women stretched on for years. The International Labor Defense (legal arm of the Communist Party), the NAACP, various writers, and other defenders of the Scottsboro nine kept them alive, each questioning the motives–even the true goals–of the other. As one character remarked, some activists knew that nine martyrs were more politically useful than nine free men.
Judicial racism in America has roots in this bizarre case.
–Kimberly Marlowe Hartnett