THIS is the story of Haywood Patterson, one of the central figures in the Scottsboro case. Arrested March 25, 1931, along with eight other Negro boys, at Paint Rock, Alabama, all charged with the rape of two young white women, Patterson soon became the symbol of this famous case. He was tried in Alabama four times. Three times he was sentenced to death and his fourth sentence, seventy-five years in prison, has been partially served. Two important Supreme Court decisions were based on appeals in his case. They may be read in the Appendices of this book. In 1937 there was a "settlement" of the Scottsboro issue. The charge of rape brought against all nine defendants was dropped for four of them, and five were committed to prison. Since then something of a silence has prevailed. No books about Scottsboro have appeared from that time until this. People do not know what happened to those who were kept in jail. Some were pardoned, some were not.
Every fact, each episode, all of the information in Scottsboro Boy was provided by Haywood Patterson. It is the story he lived, what he saw, experienced, and described.
During 1949 many reports were carried in newspapers about conditions in Southern prisons. Escaped prisoners arriving in the North and opposing extradition to Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, and other Southern states have hinted at prison conditions which are fully described in this book.
There is a story, but not for telling here, on how this book came to be. In this connection thanks are due to I. F. Stone, the columnist- journalist, for bringing this project out of the underground to the attention of Doubleday editor Ken McCormick; to William Patterson, national executive secretary of the Civil Rights Congress,