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Stories of Scottsboro

In 1931, outside the town of Scottsboro, Alabama, nine black youths were charged with the rape of two white women. The case became a cause celebre that shocked America, reawakened the struggle for racial equality, and led finally to two landmark Supreme Court decisions. In this powerful retelling of the Scottsboro case, James Goodman, an assistant professor of history at Harvard, sets out to answer the question "what happened?" by moving from one point of view to another - the defendants, the two white women, the Communist Party who would shoulder the costs of the black youths' legal representation, Northerners, Southerners, blacks and whites - detailing not only what they saw and heard, but also how their memories, ideas, and past experiences shaped their perceptions of the case. Goodman shows how people were able to present their stories of Scottsboro as the true "Story of Scottsboro, " discounting other accounts in the process. Using trial transcripts, countless newspaper and magazine articles and editorials, reports of private investigators, diaries, memories, oral histories, and autobiographies, Stories of Scottsboro is an engrossing exploration of the way in which history takes shape in people's minds through the stories they choose to relate.

Important places

Scottsboro (18)


Jackson (23)


Alabama (831)


United States (64,950)

Other geographical areas

Cumberland Plateau (211)
Appalachian Mountains (1,111)
Deep South (4,776)