On March 25, 1931, nine young African Americans were falsely charged with rape. The Scottsboro Nine were Haywood Patterson, Olen Montgomery, Clarence Norris, Willie Roberson, Andy Wright, Ozzie Powell, Eugene Williams, Charley Weems, and Roy Wright.
Eight of the nine young men were convicted and sentenced to death by an all white jury. In response to international protests, their case went to the Supreme Court where their convictions were overturned in Powell v. State of Alabama (1932) and new trials set.
As their cases wound their way through the legal system and campaigns continued for their release, they collectively served more than 100 years in prison.
Two people engaged in the campaign for their release were Raymond and Rosa Parks. The organizing was dangerous and clandestine. Raymond Parks explained:
I would stand in front of a certain street light and lean over and tie my shoe a certain way to give a signal as to where we would meet and the day and the time.