Rough Justice In The Deep South

In March 1931, nine young Negroes were indicted for the rapes of two low class white women at Scottsboro in America's Deep South. In three separate trials they were sentenced to death. In the case of 13 year old Roy Wright, the state demanded life imprisonment but the jury demanded the death penalty; in this particular case, the judge ruled a mistrial.

Death sentences on seven of the nine defendants were affirmed by the Supreme Court of Alabama on March 24, 1932. Indictments against five of the accused were eventually dropped, but the case dragged on for years. But for the public outcry, it is very likely that most of the group would have been executed, in spite of the tenuous evidence that the rapes actually happened.

According to the Tuskegee Institute, between 1882 and 1935, 1,180 people were lynched for rape (in the Deep South), including 1,083 Negroes. This is the sort of “justice” that non-whites faced in 1930s America; the suggestion by the Free Satpal Campaign that British justice in the 1980s was comparable with this - whatever its faults - is beneath contempt.


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