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Bill Could Pardon “Scottsboro Boys”

Today in Montgomery, there will be a push to try to get an infamous wrong from the 1930s in North Alabama corrected.

It’s the case that has become known as the “Scottsboro Boys.” Nine young African-American men were accused of a rape they did not commit.

If the bill is passed, it would grant the pardons of the men and, at least symbolically, give justice to them for essentially being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Decatur Defense Attorney John Mays is heading up the state effort to push this bill through. It requires an act by the state legislature.

Several legislators are sponsoring the bill expected to be presented today.

Here’s some background information on the case from 82 years ago:

Two women from Huntsville accused nine young African-American men of raping them on board a train in Jackson County. The men were brought to Scottsboro, tried and convicted. But the case was overturned.

After new trials, eight of the men were still found guilty, and they were sent to prison, in spite of one of the women recanting her story and saying the other was lying, too.

Currently, state law says the Governor can only pardon living individuals. That’s why an act of the state legislator is necessary for the pardons.

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