Assignment: Racial Tensions in the 1930s

In the Scottsboro Trials, nine black youths were unjustly convicted of raping two white women. Two cases went to the Supreme Court, which ruled that the defendants had not received fair trials because effective legal defense had not been provided and because African Americans were routinely excluded from juries. Ultimately, four were acquitted, but five served various prison terms. The racism of the U.S. legal system had been exposed to worldwide condemnation.
To complete this assignment, watch the video below, then write a response to the prompts that follow.

 Emory University (2012, Feb 13). The Scottsboro Boys. Retrieved from  

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In a new Word document, write an essay in which you respond to the following questions:

What do you think is the significance of the Scottsboro trials?
How did the effects of the Great Depression increase racial tensions?
Why would the Communist party defend the Scottsboro defendants, while the ACLU and NAACP merely condemn the trial?
Why were the appeal and Supreme Court verdict so important? What long-term changes did this make in Alabama and throughout the United States?
What role did scarcity play in increasing tensions not only for African-Americans, but minorities nationwide?

Your response should be 3-4 paragraphs in length, and should meet the following criteria:

It addresses all portions of the topic or prompt.
It has a fully developed thesis.
Ideas are stated clearly and easy to understand.
Major supporting ideas are thoughtful, readily identifiable and well-developed in unified paragraphs with concrete, substantial and relevant information.
It demonstrates command of language, with precise word choices, and few—if any—errors in usage or mechanics.


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