How the Scottsboro Boys Case Radicalized Many Around The World

scottsboro boys standing together
Zain Murdock
November 2, 2023

In 1931, the Scottsboro Boys were arrested in Alabama for a rape they did not commit. And for many worldwide, this case didn’t just spark one-time efforts to free them. It radicalized them.

That’s where Rosa Parks started, decades before stepping onto a Montgomery bus in 1955. A teenage Parks attended secret meetings, fundraised, and met her future husband, who introduced her to activism. 

In 1936, the revolutionary Claudia Jones joined the Communist Party, fighting to free the Scottsboro Boys and eventually finding her place in the struggle as a writer.

An older writer, Langston Hughes, was already acclaimed during the trial. Days before his appearance at an all-white university, Hughes published writing about the boys in a radical paper. 

This caused controversy, with some calling for police intervention, but Hughes stuck by his words.

And, of course, there were people whose names we don’t know who critically contributed to an international uproar, from the U.S. to South Africa. 

The working-class mothers of the Scottsboro Boys also grew their voices, encouraging other mothers to act.

Today, history continues to radicalize us and push us to step into our power for Black liberation. But so do newer names, voices, and stories, like George Floyd and Oluwatoyin Salau. 

What are the moments that radicalized you? And what are you going to do about it?

We have a quick favor to ask:

PushBlack is a nonprofit dedicated to raising up Black voices. We are a small team but we have an outsized impact:

  • We reach tens of millions of people with our BLACK NEWS & HISTORY STORIES every year.
  • We fight for CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM to protect our community.
  • We run VOTING CAMPAIGNS that reach over 10 million African-Americans across the country.

And as a nonprofit, we rely on small donations from subscribers like you.

With as little as $5 a month, you can help PushBlack raise up Black voices. It only takes a minute, so will you please ?

Share This Article: