"A rich and compelling narrative, as taut and suspenseful as good fiction. In places, Stories of Scottsboro is almost heartbreaking, not least because Goodman shows what people felt as well as what they thought." -- Washington Post Book World To white Southerners, it was "a heinous and unspeakable crime" that flouted a taboo as old as slavery. To the Communist Party, which mounted the defense, the Scottsboro case was an ideal opportunity to unite issues of race and class. To jury after jury, the idea that nine black men had raped two white women on a train traveling through northern Alabama in 1931 was so self-evident that they found the Scottsboro boys guilty even after the U.S. Supreme Court had twice struck down the verdict and one of the "victims" had recanted. This innovative and grippingly narrated work of history tells the story of a case that marked a watershed in American racial justice. Or, rather, it tells several stories. For out of dozens of period sources, Stories of Scottsboro re-creates not only what happened at Scottsboro, but the dissonant chords it struck in the hearts and minds of an entire nation. "Extraordinary.... To do justice to the Scottsboro story a book would have to combine edge-of-the-seat reportage and epic narrative sweep. And it is just such a book that James Goodman has given us, a beautifully realized history...written with complete authority, tight emotional control, and brilliant use of archival material." -- Chicago Tribune
During the Great Depression, the American South was not merely "the nation's number one economic problem," as President Franklin Roosevelt declared. It was also a battlefield on which forces for and against social change were starting to form. For a white southern liberal like Jonathan Daniels, editor of the Raleigh News and Observer, it was a fascinating moment to explore. Attuned to culture as well as politics, Daniels knew the true South lay somewhere between Erskine Caldwell's Tobacco Road and Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind. On May 5, 1937, he set out to find it, driving thousands of miles in his trusty Plymouth and ultimately interviewing even Mitchell herself. In Discovering the South historian Jennifer Ritterhouse pieces together Daniels's unpublished notes from his tour along with his published writings and a wealth of archival evidence to put this one man's journey through a South in transition into a larger context. Daniels's well chosen itinerary brought him face to face with the full range of political and cultural possibilities in the South of the 1930s, from New Deal liberalism and social planning in the Tennessee Valley Authority, to Communist agitation in the Scottsboro case, to planters' and industrialists' reactionary worldview and repressive violence. The result is a lively narrative of black and white southerners fighting for and against democratic social change at the start of the nation's long civil rights era. For more information on this book, see www.discoveringthesouth.org.
Throughout America's history, lawyers with a crusading zeal have, through their moral stance, intellectual integrity, and sheer brilliance, made use of the law to fight social injustice. In short biographical chapters, the authors tell the stories of ten of these lawyers. Some are well known: Thurgood Marshall; William Kunstler; Louis Brandeis; Morris Dees; Clarence Darrow; and Ralph Nader. Others are not so well known, but deserve to be. All are fascinating and influential attorneys who rose to the top of their profession, and this examination of their lives and careers illuminates key issues in American history in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. An annotated bibliography, a chronology of the person's life and work, and helpful tables of cases detailing their most prominent cases accompany each chapter.
In 1931, nine African American teens were accused of raping two white women on a train traveling between Chattanooga and Memphis. During the first trial in Scottsboro, all of the defendants were tried, convicted, and sentenced to death despite medical evidence supporting their innocence. Subsequent appeals of this verdict turned the Scottsboro case into a high-profile example of the injustices that the African American community experienced at the hands of the American judicial system. This informative edition takes a critical look at the story of the Scottsboro Boys and the controversial train ride that sparked outrage across the nation.
A powerful novel about race, class, sex, and a lie that refused to die. Alabama, 1931. A posse stops a freight train and arrests nine black youths. Their crime: fighting with white boys. Then two white girls emerge from another freight car, and fast as anyone can say Jim Crow, the cry of rape goes up. One of the girls sticks to her story. The other changes her tune, again and again. A young journalist, whose only connection to the incident is her overheated social conscience, fights to save the nine youths from the electric chair, redeem the girl who repents her lie, and make amends for her own past. Intertwining historical actors and fictional characters, stirring racism, sexism, and anti-Semitism into an explosive brew, Scottsboro is a novel of a shocking injustice that convulsed the nation and reverberated around the world, destroyed lives, forged careers, and brought out the worst and the best in the men and women who fought for the cause.
With an introduction by Jayne Anne Phillips Shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction, a novel inspired by the shocking true story of the Scottsboro boys. Even after all these years, the injustice still stuns. Innocent boys sentenced to die, not for a crime they did not commit, but for a crime that never occurred. Lives splintered as casually as wood being hacked for kindling. Alabama, 1931. A freight train is stopped in Scottsboro, nine black youths are brutally arrested and, within minutes, the cry of rape goes up from two white girls. In the shocking aftermath, one sticks to her story whilst the other keeps changing her mind, and an impassioned young journalist must try to save nine boys from the electric chair, one girl from a lie and herself from the clutches of the past . . . Stirring racism, sexism and the politics of a divided America into an explosive brew, Scottsboro gives voice to the victims - black and white - of this infamous case. Shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction in 2009, Ellen Feldman's classic charts a fight for justice during the burgeoning civil-rights movement.
In The Challenge of American History, Louis Masur brings together a sampling of recent scholarship to determine the key issues preoccupying historians of American history and to contemplate the discipline's direction for the future. The fifteen summary essays included in this volume allow professional historians, history teachers, and students to grasp in a convenient and accessible form what historians have been writing about.
On August 28, 1955, fourteen-year-old Chicago native Emmett Till was brutally beaten to death for allegedly flirting with a white woman at a grocery store in Money, Mississippi. Roy Bryant and J. W. Milam were acquitted of murdering Till and dumping his body in the Tallahatchie River, and later that year, an all-white grand jury chose not to indict the men on kidnapping charges. A few months later, Bryant and Milam admitted to the crime in an interview with the national media. They were never convicted. Although Till's body was mutilated, his mother ordered that his casket remain open during the funeral service so that the country could observe the results of racially motivated violence in the Deep South. Media attention focused on the lynching fanned the flames of regional tension and impelled many individuals -- including Rosa Parks -- to become vocal activists for racial equality. In this innovative study, Darryl Mace explores media coverage of Till's murder and provides a close analysis of the regional and racial perspectives that emerged. He investigates the portrayal of the trial in popular and black newspapers in Mississippi and the South, documents posttrial reactions, and examines Till's memorialization in the press to highlight the media's role in shaping regional and national opinions. Provocative and compelling, In Remembrance of Emmett Till provides a valuable new perspective on one of the sparks that ignited the civil rights movement.
A “civil rights Hall of Fame” (Kirkus) that was published to remarkable praise in conjunction with the NAACP’s Centennial Celebration, Lift Every Voice is a momentous history of the struggle for civil rights told through the stories of men and women who fought inescapable racial barriers in the North as well as the South—keeping the promise of democracy alive from the earliest days of the twentieth century to the triumphs of the 1950s and 1960s. Historian Patricia Sullivan unearths the little-known early decades of the NAACP’s activism, telling startling stories of personal bravery, legal brilliance, and political maneuvering by the likes of W.E.B. Du Bois, Mary White Ovington, Walter White, Charles Houston, Ella Baker, Thurgood Marshall, and Roy Wilkins. In the critical post-war era, following a string of legal victories culminating in Brown v. Board, the NAACP knocked out the legal underpinnings of the segregation system and set the stage for the final assault on Jim Crow. A sweeping and dramatic story woven deep into the fabric of American history—”history that helped shape America’s consciousness, if not its soul” (Booklist) — Lift Every Voice offers a timeless lesson on how people, without access to the traditional levers of power, can create change under seemingly impossible odds.