June 10, 2024

State of Alabama
Press Release: Alabama Department of Archives and History

Alabama Archives to host June 25 panel discussion on Scottsboro trials

PRESS RELEASE - For Immediate Release    

Media Contact: Mary Amelia Taylor
(334) 353-4692

Montgomery, AL (06/10/2024)
– The Alabama Department of Archives and History’s series History/Now: Conversations on the Past + Present returns on Tuesday, June 25, at 12:00 p.m. CT. Panelists Thomas Reidy, Peggy Towns, William Hampton, and Scotty E. Kirkland will present The Legacy of the Scottsboro Trials. The program will be held in the ADAH’s Joseph M. Farley Alabama Power Auditorium, and it will be livestreamed on the ADAH’s Facebook page and YouTube channel. Admission is FREE, and no advance registration is required.

In the spring of 1931, nine young African American men were accused of raping two white women on a north Alabama train. In the series of racially charged trials that followed, the men were convicted and sentenced to death. Efforts to secure the freedom of the Scottsboro Boys, as they were collectively referred to in the press, became the focus of international attention. The appeals of their convictions resulted in landmark U.S. Supreme Court decisions on the necessity of adequate counsel and the right to a trial by a jury of peers. In 2013, Gov. Robert Bentley issued a posthumous pardon for the men during a ceremony at the Scottsboro Boys Museum, located in the historic Joyce Chapel in Scottsboro.

The program will feature Dr. Thomas Reidy, director of the Scottsboro Boys Museum; Peggy Towns, an award-winning public historian and author of Scottsboro Unmasked: Decatur’s Story; and William Hampton, founding director of the Huntsville Revisited Museum and member of the Scottsboro Boys Museum board of directors. Scotty E. Kirkland, exhibits, publications, and programs coordinator at the ADAH, will moderate the panel.

The program coincides with a temporary exhibit on loan from the Scottsboro Boys Museum. The exhibit is located on the first floor of the Archives and will be on view until July 13. The traveling exhibit and the Archives’ History/Now program were made possible by grants from the Alabama Humanities Alliance.

Begun in 2019, the History/Now series explores connections between the present and the past. Previous programs on tribal sovereignty, the 1901 constitution, and the process of congressional reapportionment, can be viewed on the Archives’ YouTube page.  

Copies of Scottsboro Unmasked: Decatur’s Story and other books on the Scottsboro cases will be available for purchase in the ADAH’s Museum Store. A recording of the program will be available on the ADAH’s YouTube channel shortly after the presentation. For additional information, contact Alex Colvin at alex.colvin@archives.alabama.gov or (334) 353-4689.

The Alabama Department of Archives and History is the state’s government records repository, special collections library and research facility, and is home to the Museum of Alabama, the state history museum. It is located in downtown Montgomery, directly across Washington Avenue from the State Capitol. The Archives and Museum are open Monday through Saturday, 8:30 to 4:30. The EBSCO Research Room is open Tuesday through Friday and the second Saturday of the month from 8:30 to 4:30. To learn more, visit www.archives.alabama.gov or call (334) 242-4364.


Alabama Department of Archives & History 
624 Washington Ave.
Montgomery, AL 36130

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