Scottsboro Boys Remembered

From UA News:

“TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The University of Alabama’s Paul R. Jones Gallery of Art in downtown Tuscaloosa opens today its first exhibit of the year, ‘Scottsboro Boys: The Fred Hiroshige Photographs’ from the Morgan County Archives.

It showcases historic photographs on loan from Morgan County that document the 1933 retrial of one of Alabama’s ‘Scottsboro Boys.’ The exhibit will be on display until Feb. 21.

Last year, faculty and students in UA’s College of Arts and Sciences worked together with the Scottsboro Museum and Cultural Center to facilitate historic legislation that granted posthumous pardons to the Scottsboro Boys. The State Board of Pardons and Paroles approved pardons for the remaining defendants in November.

In 1931, nine teenage African-Americans were pulled from a train in Paint Rock and falsely accused of raping two white women. The cases were brought to the public’s attention following a series of rushed trials and biased juries, which ultimately led to death sentences – handed down in Scottsboro – for the defendants. The U.S. Supreme Court, however, reversed the verdicts and sent the cases back to Alabama for retrial.

This exhibition at the Jones Gallery follows the second trial of Haywood Patterson, one of the nine men, through the photographs of Decatur photographer Fred Hiroshige.

There will be two guest speakers in conjunction with the exhibit. On Thursday, Feb. 6, Dr. Robin D.G. Kelley, the Gary Nash Professor of American History at UCLA, will speak at 7 p.m. in room 205 of the Gorgas Library. On Friday, Feb. 7, Dr. Dan T. Carter, Education Foundation Professor Emeritus at the University of South Carolina and author of Scottsboro: A Tragedy of the American South, will give a talk as part of a reception from 5-7:30 p.m. at the Jones Gallery. These events are free and open to the public.

‘This exhibit of rarely seen photographs opens a window on the long history of the struggle for racial justice in the U.S.,’ said Ellen Spears, a New College faculty member who has worked in partnership with the Scottsboro Boys Museum and Cultural Center for four years.

Sponsors for the exhibit include UA’s College of Arts and Sciences, the Blount Undergraduate Initiative, the Center for Community-Based Partnerships, the Center for Ethics and Social Responsibility, the Crossroads Community Center, the department of American studies, the department of criminal justice, the department of gender and race studies, New College, the Summersell Center for the Study of the South, the College of Arts and Sciences’ Diversity Committee and the UA School of Law.

The gallery honors the late Paul R. Jones who, during his lifetime, amassed one of the largest collections of African-American art in the world. In 2008, Jones donated 1,700 pieces of his collection, valued at $4.8 million, to UA.

The Paul R. Jones Gallery is located at 2308 6th St. in downtown Tuscaloosa. Gallery hours are Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Thursday from noon to 8 p.m.

The Paul R. Jones Collection of American Art is part of UA’s College of Arts and Sciences, the University’s largest division and the largest liberal arts college in the state. Students from the College have won numerous national awards including Rhodes Scholarships, Goldwater Scholarships and memberships on the USA Today Academic All American Team.”