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Plan National Aid at Negroes' Trial
Digital History ID 1127


Date:1933

Annotation: Despite contradictory testimony, an absence of physical evidence, and the recantation of the accusation by one of the women who claimed to be raped, the Scottsboro defendants spent an average of 10 years in prison. One of the Scottsboro defendants, Haywood Patterson, was tried, convicted and sentenced to death three times. He ultimately escaped from prison in 1948 only to be arrested in 1950 for a barroom murder. He died in jail in 1951.


Document: Leaders of Race Here Move to Raise Funds and Stir a Country-Wide Protest.

Confer With Leibowitz

Defense Attorney Will Speak Tonight at Labor Defense Meeting in Union Square.

Nationally organized Negro defense of the nine Negroes involved in the Scottsboro case is being planned by New York leaders of the race.

Bill Robinson, Negro dancer, visited Samuel Leibowitz, counsel for the Scottsboro defendants yesterday and submitted a proposal that funds be raised with several benefit performances. Delegations representing various Negro organizations also called on the attorney.

"It now become apparent," Mr. Leibowitz said last night, "that irrespective of any small differences that may have arisen in the past between different organizations seeking to lead this fight, the race has reached the conclusion that this case marks a turning point in the life of the American Negro, who has been kept shackled by intolerance of the bigots. They are going through with the fight."

Mr. Leibowitz was announced as one of the principal speakers for a demonstration in Union square at 6 o'clock tonight by the International Labor Defense. Mrs. Janie Patterson, mother of the Negro reconvicted in Decatur this week, is due in New York this afternoon and will attend the meeting.

Hays Listed as Speaker. Others scheduled to speak are Joseph R. Brodsky, chief counsel for the International Labor Defense; John Haynes Holmes, Arthur Garfield hays and Roger Baldwin.

The International Labor Defense, through William L. Patterson, its national secretary, assailed the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People yesterday for its statement of Monday to the effect that the injection of communism into the trial affected the verdict in the Patterson case.

"The directors of the N.A.A.C.P. have seen fit to gloat over the death verdict against Heywood Patterson," said the defense secretary. "They take the occasion of this verdict to bring forward a ridiculous claim that had they been in the case the verdict would have been different.

"They say that 'racial prejudice closed the eyes of the jurors' and at the same time that the injection of communism into the case brought about the death verdict."

"Aside from the completely gratuitous confusion of the International Labor Defense, a non-partisan organization, with the Communist party, which is brought for ward merely to hide the existence of a workers' organization of defense, this statement is in itself a contradiction.

Statement Declared Untrue. "This statement that the N.A.A.C.P. went to the aid of the Scottsboro boys at the trial is another. The records prove this conclusively."

Harlem Negroes, led by several ministers of their race and by W. H. Davis, owner of The New Amsterdam, a Negro publication, plan to hold a number of mass meetings in Negro churches and at various outdoor points in Manhattan as well as in the other boroughs, Davis announced last night.

A.J. Muste, chairman of the conference for Progressive labor Action, sent a letter yesterday to President Roosevelt asking that he use his influence to obtain a new trial for Patterson.

The conference, in a letter to The Amsterdam News, suggested yesterday that 50,000 Negroes be enlisted to march to Washington to protest against the Patterson verdict and that 50,000 white workers be asked to join the march.

Additional information: The New York Times, Wednesday, April 12, 1933

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