Universty at Albany

Campus Update

By Greta Petry (January 10, 2008)

Scottsboro and Its Legacy Released

James R. Acker
James R. Acker (Photo by Mark Schmidt)
Distinguished Teaching Professor James R. Acker of the School of Criminal Justice has written a new book Scottsboro and its Legacy: The Cases that Challenged American Legal and Social Justice.

The book, published by Praeger, details the alleged crimes, their legal aftermath, and their immediate and enduring social significance as shown in media portrayals and other forms of popular culture. Using extensive media reports, including contemporaneous newspaper accounts and interpretations of the proceedings, Acker illustrates the media’s role and the effect the cases had on society at the time.

In the 1931 Scottsboro case, nine black teenagers were accused of raping two white women on a train in northern Alabama. They were arrested, tried, convicted, and sentenced to death in the town of Scottsboro in little more than two weeks. The “Scottsboro Boys” case became a lightning rod for fundamental issues of social justice, including racial discrimination, class oppression, and legal fairness.

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