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Estimate: $ 1,500 - $ 2,500
SCOTTSBORO BOYS. Group of eight original press photographs of the Scottsboro Boys, and people associated with their case. Seven 8 x 10 photographs and one 9 x 11 photograph; some slight wear to several; press data on versos. Alabama, New York, 1933, 1940, 1949, 1951
includes the classic jailhouse image of the boys and their attorney, samuel leibowitz. On 25 May, 1931, nine black youths were traveling the same freight train from Chattanooga to Memphis as two white women and seven white men. After a fight on the train, the two white women claimed that they had been gang-raped by the boys. In a hasty proceeding, the boys were represented by two court attorneys: one a drunk and the other an elderly man who frequently nodded off during the 'trial'. The grand jury indicted all nine for rape. A week later trials began and eight of the nine were sentenced to death; the jury deadlocked over the fate of the youngest, only 12. Nearly a decade of trials and retrials followed, ending with death sentences for most of the boys (later commuted to life). One of the women recanted her testimony, but too late to be of any help. The Scottsboro case brought national attention to Jim Crow justice in the deep South. The NAACP dropped the case in 1932, which was then picked up by the Communist Party's International Labor Defense. Most of the photos offered here date from 1933, the time of the second mistrial. Included is a photo of Orville Gilley, one of the white hobos and the Court's prime witness against the boys.