The Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles today voted to grant posthumous pardons to three African-American young men who were among those falsely accused of raping two white women on a train in Alabama in the infamous 1931 Scottsboro Boys case. ACLU lawyers played a major role in the case, which led to two landmark Supreme Court rulings that established important rights for criminal defendants.
Dennis Parker, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Racial Justice Program, said: The long-overdue pardon of the African-American young men unjustly charged with rape in Alabama decades ago comes too late to provide any comfort to them, but at least will officially clear their names. We must recognize this as an opportunity to demonstrate the corrosive, unjust associations between criminality and race prevalent in the early 20th century and sadly, too much with us today. The ACLU believes that we owe it to the young men tried in Scottsboro, to people of color living now and those of future generations, and to the nation as a whole to resolve to address, once and for all, the continuing injustices in our criminal justice system.