On March 25, 1931, nine Black men were falsely accused of rape in Jackson County.
Now, the state prison records from the Scottsboro Boys have been digitized and are available online for anyone to view.
The Alabama Department of Archives and History recently discovered the intake records from Kilby Prison in the administrative records of Gov. Benjamin M. Miller, who served from 1931-35.
Olen Montgomery, Clarence Norris, Haywood Patterson, Ozie Powell, Willie Roberson, Charlie
Weems, Eugene Williams, Andy Wright, and Roy Wright were wrongfully accused of raping two white women while traveling on a freight train in north Alabama.
They were arrested in Paint Rock and hastily tried in Scottsboro.
On April 9, eight of the nine were sentenced to death.
A series of retrials and convictions followed, some of the appeals led to groundbreaking U.S. Supreme Court decisions, and the infamous racial injustices helped spur the civil rights movement.
Collectivley, the Scottsboro Boys served more than 100 years in prison.
In 2013, the State of Alabama enacted legislation allowing for the posthumous pardoning of three remaining men whose convictions hadn’t been overturned or pardoned during their lives.
Each record, taken from April 27, 1931, when the eight men entered state prison custody, includes biographical data on each man, a physical description, next of kin, fingerprints, and a photograph. All eight records show the prison term as “DEATH – TO BE ELECTROCUTED.”
No record is included for then-13-year-old Roy Wright, whose initial prosecution ended in a mistrial due to his age.
Each record also is marked with a stamp reading “RECEIVED / January 15, 1931 / Governor’s Office.”
ADAH officials said the date of the stamp is incorrect and presumably the result of a clerk forgetting to change the year at the start of January 1932; the Alabama Supreme Court heard appeals on the eight death sentences on January 20, 1932.
To access the records, visit the ADAH website.