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Modern-Day Witch Hunts

Powerful Essays
Modern-Day Witch Hunts:
The Trials of the Scottsboro Boys

Jessica Singh

English III Honors
Mrs. Melisse Aiello
October 29th, 2015

Jessica Singh
Mrs. Melisse Aiello
English III Honors
October 29th, 2015

Modern-Day Witch Hunts: The Trials of the Scottsboro Boys As shocking as it may seem to hear, witch hunts still exist in modern times. One of the most prevalent examples of a modern day witch hunt was the case of the Scottsboro boys in the 1930s. The Scottsboro case revolved around nine innocent African-American teenagers charged with the gang rape of two white women, Victoria Price and Ruby Bates, on a train in 1931. It dealt with issues of racism, prejudiced juries, and rushed trials, causing it to be cited
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Although many may argue that the accusations presented by the plaintiffs seemed quite plausible, further investigation proved many such claims to be false. For example, although Price and Bates accused the young African-American men of raping them on the freight train, “the Scottsboro doctor who examined the girls less than two hours after the alleged rapes […] was able to show on cross examination that the girls were both calm, composed, and free of bleeding and vaginal damage” (Linder). The fact that a certified doctor was able to prove that the young women were virtually unhurt after the supposed rapes shows that the girls were lying to the court. Although their claims made sense to the prejudiced judicial system, Price and Bates were simply using their positions in society as young white women to gain unwarranted sympathy from the all-white jury. Because scientific evidence was able to contradict the prosecution’s allegations, it was evident that false accusations were being made by the plaintiffs. Additionally, the young black men were accused of being armed with pistols and knives but one member of the group that searched the defendants testified that he only found one knife, which, after questioning the boy, was revealed to be the property of Victoria Price (Kindig). Price and Bates were obviously hyperbolizing their statements to exhibit the men in a more negative light and gain further support of the opinionated jury. The plaintiffs of the Scottsboro trials provided many false charges against the boys in an attempt to provoke persecution in a classic witch hunt-style
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