- Series: Jules and Frances Landry Award
- Paperback: 528 pages
- Publisher: LSU Press; revised edition edition (September 1, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0807132888
- ISBN-13: 978-0807132883
- Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 18 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,194,860 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Scottsboro: A Tragedy of the American South (Jules and Frances Landry Award) revised edition Edition
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From the Back Cover
In a chapter written especially for this revised edition of his modern classic, Carter recounts the latest turns in the case. Included are the surprising story of the last surviving Scottsboro defendant and the vivid description of Victoria Price's libel suit against the network that televised the drama and subsequent trial--presumably the last of the Scottsboro trials.
About the Author
Dan T. Carter is Educational Foundation Professor at the University of South Carolina. He is the author of The Politics of Rage: George Wallace, the Origins of the New Conservativism, and the Transformation of American Politics; When the War Was Over: The Failure of Self-Reconstruction in the South, 1865--1867; and many other books. The 1970 publication of his award-winning Scottsboro: A Tragedy of the American South inspired a 1976 docudrama that rekindled controversy and interest in the case.
Top customer reviews
In the late 1960s, Dan T. Carter wrote an account of the case as his PhD dissertation in history at the University of North Carolina. The dissertation was published by the Louisiana State University Press in 1969. Although the book shows its origins as a dissertation in its copious footnotes, it is very well written. In fact, if this isn't the most readable doctoral dissertation ever written, I would love to read the one that is!
Carter undertook a prodigious amount of scholarship -- particularly impressive for those pre-Internet days -- reading the trial transcripts, examining newspapers of the period, combing through the archives of the NAACP and other groups involved in the case, and interviewing the survivors he could locate. Although the tale is complicated, with multiple retrials, appeals to the Supreme Court, and continual strife among different groups trying to represent the defendants through the years, he makes the story surprisingly fast moving and interesting. Although we are -- mercifully -- far removed from the racial situation as it existed in Alabama in the 1930s, the book still has relevance for the insights it provides into that period.
A few words about the revisions in this "Revised Edition." Like many revised editions of university press books published before digital typesetting, most of this edition is reproduced exactly as the book appeared on first publication in 1969; not even typos have been corrected. The book contains an additional chapter that was apparently added in 1979. In the 1970s, NBC broadcast a TV movie based on the book. At the time Carter believed that both women involved in the case had died in the early 1960s. In fact, both were alive and they came forward to sue NBC for defamation and invasion of privacy. The chapter describing the lawsuit seems longer than it needs to be and is far less interesting than the remainder of the book. In 2007, Carter wrote a new Introduction which provides an account of how he came to write the book. It is only in this introduction that he discusses -- quite briefly -- scholarship on the case over the 40 years since his book was first published. Ideally, Carter would have integrated that new scholarship into a revisions of the body of the text, but it seems unlikely that the publisher would have been willing to bear the expense.
In any event, I think anyone interested in the history of the South during the twentieth century or anyone interested in accounts of historical court cases will find this book well worth reading.
While the innocence of the teens is unquestionable, the motivations of certain parties is more complex. The zealous, nutty International Labor Defense, which was an extension of Stalin's Communist Party, initially saved the young African-Americans from death by electrocution, but after that caused much more harm than good. The odious Alabama Attorney General Thomas Knight was motivated by political ambition. Blatantly racist Judge William Callahan made a mockery of the judicial system. There are some individuals who's integrity made them shine during the Scottsboro fiasco. Three individuals especially stand out as exemplars of high character: Judge James Horton, attorney Samuel Leibowitz and Pastor Allan Knight Chalmers. The NAACP, who should have spearheaded the boys' defense, were more concerned about their reputation than the boys lives. Also, Mr. Carter's book was originally published in 1968 and he had claimed Victoria Price and Ruby Bates were dead. When NBC broadcast a tv movie based upon excerpts of his work, the very-much-alive ladies sued. The revised edition includes his journal of what occurred during the 1977 trial.
Mr. Carter's excellent, academic-but-readable book shows that the pursuit of justice can cause odd alliances. The depths of Alabama's racist, anti-Semitic attitudes is truly breathtaking. The oodles of death threats received by defenders of the Scottsboro boys; the decades of exclusion of black on juries; Southern law enforcement habitually ignoring Constitutional rights; and deep hatreds of Northerners are also shown in their ugly glory. "Scottsboro" is great history and a perfect example of the darker aspects of racism which are still very much with us today.
Most recent customer reviews
An amazing piece of writing, the scope of which never left me.Read more