Honors Literary Genres
February 22, 2012
The Scottsboro Incident
The 1930’s were one of the most eventful decades in American history. The 1930's was a time of the Great Depression, the start of The Dust Bowl, the "Star Spangled Banner" became our national anthem, the television was in its infancy, the Empire State Building was opened (the world's tallest building at the time), President Roosevelt was elected and re-elected, the Hindenburg air ship burned to the ground in less than two minutes, and much more. But one event that stands out the most during this time period is the Scottsboro incident. With many novels, commentaries, and biographies written about it, the Scottsboro incident is known as one of the most influential crimes and trials of American history that lasted for two decades: “No crime in American history-- let alone a crime that never occurred-- produced as many trials, convictions, reversals, and retrials as did [the Scottsboro incident]” (Linder, Scottsboro Boys). The struggle for justice of the "Scottsboro Boys" had a great effect on history; it made celebrities out of anonymities, launched and ended careers, wasted lives, produced heroes, opened more juries to African Americans, and even worsened sectional strife.
During the 1930’s, in the time of the Great depression, “hoboing” on freight trains became a common activity in the Depression year. For some, riding freight trains was an adventure compared to the grind and dreariness of their daily lives, while others hopped rail cars to move from one fruitless job search to the next. On March 21, 1931 about two dozen mainly male--and mainly young--whites and African Americans illegally rode on the Southern Railroad's Chattanooga to Memphis freight. Among them were four African-American teenagers hoping to find rumored jobs in Memphis hauling logs on the river, and five other African-American teens from various parts of Georgia. Also aboard the train were...