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.
★ “Brimner revisits the history of injustice in America… (and) 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…. (t)he 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.” – Kirkus Reviews, starred 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… Brimner has his work cut out for himself in telling this complicated story… (and) 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.” — Booklist, starred review
“This is an emotionally wrenching story… (and) a needed book in any school library, for it shows the dangers of unfettered racism.” — School Library Connection