Pinback button for the Scottsboro United Front Defense

About the Project

Pinback buttons are a statement that lets others know your opinions and feelings on a variety of topics. This button shows support for the Scottsboro Boys. On March 25, 1931, nine African American teenage boys were accused of raping two white women. The case was first heard in Scottsboro, Alabama, in three rushed trials, where the defendants received poor legal representation. All but one of the defendants were convicted of rape and sentenced to death. The International Labor Defense (ILD), the legal arm of the Communist Party USA, took on this case realizing that the fame of the case would spotlight the blatant racism shown against the Scottsboro Boys. The ILD directed a national campaign to help free the teenagers that included rallies, speeches, parades, and demonstrations. The Alabama Supreme Court ruled in favor of the guilty verdict for seven of the eight convictions. The ruling was appealed to the United States Supreme Court in the case Powell v. Alabama Chief Justice John C. Anderson. The Supreme Court ruling decided that the defendants had been denied an impartial jury, fair trial, fair sentencing, and effective counsel, which violated their rights under the Fourteenth Amendment. This ruling was one of the first examples showing that African Americans were denied the rights of a fair impartial trial. The ruling was upheld again in Norris v. Alabama.

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