Alabama Posthumously Pardons 3 Scottsboro Boys

The Scottsboro boys
The Scottsboro boys

It was one of those events that helped sparked the modern civil rights movement, prompting protests over racial injustice and two milestone decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court.

In 1931 a group of nine black teenagers were fighting false charges that they had raped two white women. All of them ended up serving time after being convicted by all-white juries. In 1937, according to the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles, five of the teens had their convictions overturned and charges dropped. Then 40 more years passed before another man got a pardon from then-Gov. George Wallace.

But then there were still three, and on Thursday they were finally exonerated. Their names are Charles Weems, Andy Wright and Haywood Patterson.

"Today we were able to undo a black eye that has been held over Alabama for many years," said Eddie Cook, the board's assistant executive director, according to Reuters.


Earlier this year, lawmakers in the state passed legislation directly aimed at granting posthumous pardons to these boys. The bill required that eligible cases have elements of racial and social injustice.

"In this case, it broke all of those elements of injustice," Cook said.

Read more at Reuters.

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