Dan T. Carter is Andrew Mellon Professor of History at Emory University. He was educated at the University of South Carolina (B.A., 1962), the University of Wisconsin (M.A., 1964), and the University of North Carolina (Ph.D., 1967). The Scottsboro case in Alabama held the nation's attention from 1931 to 1937. Carter's account of the case won the prestigious Bancroft Prize in History ( Scottsboro: A Tragedy of the American South [ 1979]).
Dr. Bridges returned to the witness chair on Tuesday morning and after a brief cross-examination, Leibowitz told the court he had no further questions. Dr. Marvin Lynch, the second Scottsboro physician who had examined the girls, was the next scheduled witness, but before he could take the stand, Attorney General Knight asked to confer privately with Judge Horton. During the brief recess, the Judge, Dr. Lynch, and the state's attorneys met in a smaller courthouse room. Knight explained that Lynch's statement would only be a repetition of Dr. Bridges' testimony and the state wished him excused. Judge Horton readily consented. When Knight and the other lawyers for the state returned to the courtroom, however, the doctor asked Horton if they could meet privately. The only room they could find was one of the courthouse restrooms and, with the bailiff standing outside the door, the two men talked. The young doctor, who appeared unnerved and agitated, went straight to the point. Contrary to Knight's statement, said Lynch, his testimony would not be a repetition of Dr. Bridge's, because he did not believe the girls had been raped. From the very beginning, said Lynch, he was convinced the girls were lying. Even Dr. Bridges had noted at the examination that the two women were "not even red."1
"My God, Doctor, is this whole thing a horrible mistake[?]" asked the stunned Horton. "Judge, I looked at both the women and told them they were lying, that they knew they had not been raped," replied the doctor, "and they just laughed at me."2 Shaken by the news, Horton urged the doctor to testify for