The Scottsboro Boys Museum
Located in the historic Joyce Chapel, the Scottsboro Boys Museum offers an interpretive tour of the case that helped usher in the modern civil rights moment. On March 25, 1931, nine young African Americans were accused of raping two white women aboard a westbound train in northern Alabama. They were escorted to the Jackson County jail where they were tried and convicted within the next two weeks. The nine served 102 combined years in state prison for a crime they did not commit.
Their struggle made headlines around the world. To tell their complex story, the museum’s content looks at various American mythologies surrounding race and gender, at Jim Crow culture and poverty, along with the case’s legacies. A focal point of the museum is a re-creation of one of its trials. The exhibit features Haywood Patterson (the defendant) and Victoria Price (one of the accusers), along with Samuel Leibowitz (defense attorney), Thomas Knight (prosecutor), and Judge Edwin Horton. A separate room is dedicated to response and protest, and highlights the cultural reaction to terms of rallies, literature, film, and stage. A popular exhibit challenges visitors to consider comparisons between the Scottsboro Boys Case and To Kill a Mockingbird.
The museum is designed for self-touring; however, a guide can be made available for larger groups. See our website for more information.