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|Accused! : the trials of the Scottsboro boys: lies, prejudice, and the fourteenth amendment|
Author: Brimner, Larry Dane
The story of the Scottsboro Boys, nine African-American teenagers who found their lives destroyed after two white women falsely accused them of rape.
Kirkus Reviews (+) (08/15/19)
School Library Journal (+) (11/01/19)
Booklist (+) (09/01/19)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 09/01/2019 *Starred Review* Brimner, who won the 2018 Sibert Award for his book Twelve Days in May: Freedom Ride 1961, now looks at the case of the Scottsboro boys, nine black teenagers who were arrested and falsely accused of raping two white women in 1931. The teenagers were riding the rails, hoping to find work in Alabama. Instead, they got into a fight with some white boys and were arrested when the train was stopped. But the fight wasn’t the only trouble they found—two white women who had been aboard the train accused them of rape. Brimner has his work cut out for himself in telling this complicated story. There are numerous accounts from defendants, witnesses, and lawyers; the perspective switches between the accused young men, who at times turn on each other; and the story contains important political and social elements, including an exploration of racism and the willingness of a Communist organization to defend the nine to promote its ideology. Not all the plates are kept in the air, but Brimner gives the narrative both heft and heart. The book’s design uses black-and-white photos to good advantage. A solid look at a noteworthy event that touched upon many aspects of U.S. society. - Copyright 2019 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 11/01/2019 Gr 8 Up—The setting: 1931, Jackson County, AL. Nine black boys between ages 13 and 20 "hoboing" aboard a freight train were rounded up by a white mob, charged with raping two white women, railroaded through a hasty trial with lackluster representation, and sentenced to death. Aided by the Communist Party and NAACP, the boys appealed their case, all the while terrorized by their jailers, lynch mobs, and the looming threat of the electric chair. Their story garnered international attention and two landmark Supreme Court decisions regarding jury representation. Nevertheless, each retrial resulted in a new conviction and draconian sentence, and the accused never fully recovered. Tightly wound, compelling, and comprehensive, Brimner's meticulously documented narrative re-creates the menacing atmosphere of Depression-era segregated courtrooms, atrocious carceral facilities, and a riven public. Extensive quotations offer a sense of each historical figure's character, from the boys on trial and their accusers to the officials handling cases and the captivated press. The text is enhanced with plentiful photographs, period news accounts and ephemera, and helpful sidebars offering broader context. Brimner draws parallels between the Scottsboro boys and present situations, reminding readers how far we've come—and how we continue to come up short. VERDICT This masterly account of an egregious episode in American history is (and will remain) vital reading. An essential acquisition.—Steven Thompson, Sadie Pope Dowdell Library, South Amboy, NJ - Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.