Governor Bentley signs pardon for Scottsboro Boys Friday - WVTM-TV Birmingham, AL

Governor Bentley signs pardon for Scottsboro Boys Friday

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A pardon for the Scottsboro Boys is now official.

Governor Robert Bentley Friday held a ceremonial signing for Senate Bill 97, a measure that establishes a framework for posthumous pardons in the case of the Scottsboro Boys.

Governor Bentley also signed House Joint Resolution 20, which formally exonerates the Scottsboro Boys.

"We cannot take back what happened.  But we can make it right moving forward.  That's why I'm signing this legislation," Governor Bentley said.  "It's important to clear the names of the Scottsboro Boys.  This is the result of a bipartisan, cooperative effort, and I appreciate everyone who worked together to make this legislation a reality."

The case began in 1931, when nine young black men, commonly known as the Scottsboro Boys, were accused of raping two white women.

All of the men, except for 12-year-old Roy Wright, were convicted and sentenced to death.  During later retrials, one of the accusers admitted to fabricating the rape allegations.

Ultimately, charges were dropped against some of the Scottsboro Boys while others were still convicted in retrials.

Researchers, scholars and others have thoroughly reviewed the case and found that the Scottsboro Boys were, indeed, wrongfully accused and convicted.

The pardoning and exoneration measures approved by the Alabama Legislature and signed by Governor Bentley are important steps in clearing the names of the Scottsboro Boys and correcting the injustices of the past.

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