Alabama Pardons ‘Scottsboro Boys’ More Than 80 Years Later

Victims of racial injustice finally cleared

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The Alabama Parole board issued posthumous pardons Thursday for three of the “Scottsboro Boys” more than 80 years after they were wrongly accused of raping two white women on a train in 1931.

The nine black boys were convicted by an all-white jury that ignored key evidence, in a case that came to symbolize racial injustice in the South. Five of the boys were exonerated when one of the alleged victims recanted her testimony in 1937, and one was pardoned before his death in 1976. The three remaining victims, Charles Weems, Andy Wright and Haywood Patterson, received posthumous pardons Thursday.

Posthumous pardoning only recently became legal in Alabama, thanks to a law sponsored by State Senator Arthur Orr, the Associated Press reports. “It is a promising reminder of how far we have come from those regretful days in our past,” Orr said.