04.04.135:57 PM ET

Alabama to Pardon Scottsboro Boys

Nine black men were convicted of raping two white women in 1931.

The Alabama legislature voted Thursday to pardon the Scottsboro boys, the nine black men convicted more than 80 years ago of raping two white women. The men were convicted by an all-white jury, and all but the youngest were initially sentenced to the death penalty despite evidence that exonerated them. The U.S. Supreme Court overturned the verdicts, and the Supreme Court also issued rulings that led to defendants’ right to attorneys and exclusion of African-Americans on juries. In 1976, Clarence Norris, the only one of the nine known to be alive, was pardoned, but this posthumously pardons the rest.