DECATUR, Ala. (WHNT) — The Decatur City Council is set to decide whether they will cover the cost of moving the home of the judge who presided over the Scottsboro Boy’s case.
The home of Judge James E. Horton currently sits in Greenbrier in Limestone County. If the city council approves, the home will be moved to the site of a planned museum in downtown Decatur.
They were called the Scottsboro boys because Jackson County was where the boys were arrested but the trials took place in Decatur. Judge Horton, the judge who presided over Haywood Patterson’s second trial is known for taking a stand for justice.
In 1931 the Scottsboro Boys were a group of nine young African American boys ranging from the age of 13 to 17 who were falsely accused and convicted of raping two white women aboard a train during the great depression.
Less than a week after the conviction, eight of the nine boys were sentenced to death. The U.S. supreme court eventually threw out those convictions, but Patterson was re-tried in the city of Decatur. The decision to set aside the death sentence of Patterson would end judge Horton’s career as an elected circuit judge. It’s considered a remarkable act of courage and principle.
“This is a landmark case from my understanding that every constitutional law student must study,” explained Peggy Parks-Miller, whose uncle Clarence Norris was one of the boys.
To honor the bravery of Judge Horton the organization, Celebrating Early Old Town with Art, wants to move Horton’s home to Decatur. The CEOTA is trying to build a Scottsboro Boys Museum on Sycamore Street.
“The case spawned two U.S. supreme court decisions and had tentacles all over the world as far was why it was important,” said Thomas Reidy of the Scottsboro Boys Museum in Jackson County.
The Decatur City Council will have to approve the nearly $900,000 it will take to relocate the home from Greenbrier to Decatur. That vote will take place at 10 am on Monday.