Scottsboro in Jackson County, Alabama — The American South (East South Central)
Jackson County Courthouse And The Scottsboro Boys
Constructed in 1911-1912 and designed by architect Richard H. Hunt, the Jackson County Courthouse is a Neo-Classical, brick building situated on a town square in Scottsboro, the county seat of Jackson County. The front, two-story portico is supported by four stone columns of the Doric order. A cupola on the top contains a Seth Thomas clock.
This courthouse was the site of the first of the Scottsboro Boys trials. Two white women accused nine black teenagers of rape on March 25, 1931, while riding a freight train as it passed through Jackson County. In April 1931, at the first of four trials, a jury convicted eight of the nine defendants and sentenced them to death. The judge declared a mistrial in the case of one defendant. Soon after the guilty verdicts, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the International Labor Defense (ILD) came to the defense of the "Scottsboro Boys," contending the trials were unconstitutional.
The United States Supreme Court overturned the verdicts and new trials were held in Decatur, Alabama. After a series of trials, convictions, and overturned decisions, a compromise was reached in 1938, with some of the "Scottsboro Boys" freed immediately and the others released by 1950. In 1976, Alabama Governor
Two landmark United States Supreme Court decisions arose directly from the case. In Patterson vs. Alabama (1932), the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the defendants were denied the right to effective legal counsel, and in Norris vs Alabama (1935), the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the defendants had not received equal protection under the law because Jackson County juror rolls excluded African Americans.
Many consider the Scottsboro Case and its aftermath one of the beginnings of the civil rights movement in America.
Erected 2003 by the Alabama Historical Commission, the Jackson County Historical Association, and the Alabama State Bar.
Location. 34° 40.308′ N, 86° 2.04′ W. Marker is in Scottsboro, Alabama, in Jackson County. Marker is on E Peachtree Street, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Located on the Jackson County Courthouse grounds on the East Peachtree Street side. Marker is in this post office area: Scottsboro AL 35768, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 10 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Gen. Andrew Jackson (within shouting distance of this marker); Robert Thomas Scott (within shouting distance of this marker); Union Civil War Encampment in Scottsboro Robert E. Jones, Jr. (approx. 0.3 miles away); Scottsboro Railroad Depot (approx. 0.3 miles away); Bellefonte Cemetery / Town of Bellefonte (approx. 5.7 miles away); Town of Section (approx. 6.8 miles away); History of Langston (approx. 9.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Scottsboro.
Also see . . . Encyclopedia of Alabama entry on Scottsboro Trials. (Submitted on July 15, 2011, by Laura Hill of Auburn, Alabama.)
Categories. • 20th Century • African Americans • Civil Rights • Government •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on September 7, 2009, by Timothy Carr of Birmingham, Alabama. This page has been viewed 3,237 times since then and 67 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on September 7, 2009, by Timothy Carr of Birmingham, Alabama. • Kevin W. was the editor who published this page.