The "Scottsboro Stories" blog reflects the writings, photographs, arrangements, opinions and musings of me, Garry L. Morgan, only. I do not represent the Scottsboro Boys Museum or the Scottsboro Multicultural Foundation - the parent organization of the Scottsboro Boys Museum. I receive no profit from this endeavor. This blog is for educational purposes and that of open expression about racial and sexual discrimination, institutional and personal racism and the deadliest war of all time - "The Culture War."


The Ledger: "Scottsboro, Ala., Museum Opens to Mark a Shameful Case "

Friday, January 16, 2015

Martin Luther King, Jr. Speech at Stanford University, April 16, 1967 - "The Other America"

Martin Luther King's Final Speech: 'I've Been to the Mountaintop' 

Monday, November 10, 2014

2014 American Indian Heritage Month

Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute Poster for 2014
The Society of American Indian Government Employees (SAIGE) developed the theme for this year’s National American Indian Heritage Month observance products: “Native Pride and Spirit: Yesterday, Today and Forever.”

Mr. Robert Brown, DEOMI (Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute) illustrator, describes the artistic design of this year’s National American Indian Heritage Month Observance poster: “A people and their culture are often preserved and communicated through artifacts, ancient writing and art. I felt the featured items were inspiring representatives of the rich and lasting history of American Indian and Native Alaskan culture. The top and bottom borders were taken from a pictorial notation of an Ojibwa music board found in the archives of the Library of Congress. The bird carving from a single piece of wood is a rare war helmet from the Tlingit people of southeast Alaska. The helmet, rediscovered in December 2013 in the Springfield Science Museum archives, is one of approximately only 95 left in existence today. Beginning as protection for Tlingit warriors in battle, war helmets today serve the Tlingit as healing reminders of their rich and ancient history,” said Mr. Brown.

In accordance with Public Law 101-343, National American Indian Heritage Month honors the many contributions and accomplishments of American Indians and Alaska Natives. During November, we remember the legacy of the first Americans and celebrate their vibrant culture and heritage. Since the Revolutionary War, Native Americans and Alaska Natives have played a vital role in our country’s freedom and security. They proudly serve in all departments of the United States Government today.

From the Aleutian Islands to the Florida Everglades, American Indians and Alaska Natives have contributed immensely to our country's heritage. During National American Indian Heritage Month, we commemorate their enduring achievements and reaffirm the vital role American Indians and Alaska Natives play in enriching the character of our Nation.

In 1976, the United States’ bicentennial year, Congress passed a resolution authorizing President Ford to proclaim a week in October as “Native American Awareness Week.” On October 8, 1976, he issued his presidential proclamation doing so. Since then, Congress and the President have observed a day, a week or a month in honor of the American Indian and Alaska Native people. And while the proclamations do not set a national theme for the observance, they do allow each federal department and agency to develop their own ways of celebrating and honoring the nation’s American Indian heritage.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Life of the Law Presentation on The Scottsboro Trials - Emphasis on Clarence Norris, By Ashley Cleek, NPR

Scottsboro Defendants Under Guard. Photo-Fair Use for non-profit education and news.

Clarence Norris 
(photo-Fair Use for non-profit education and news reporting, source unknown)

In The Name Of The Father

"“A posthumous pardon causes people to think about the next case,” says John Miller, a lawyer and professor at the University of Alabama, who helped write the Scottsboro Boys Act.
   Miller was not pleased by all the loopholes, but he says, the Act isn’t simply a symbolic, feel-good moment for Alabama.
   “Are we going to [do] better by the next group of people that are brought up on charges when the evidence looks a little thin and when they come from a background that is not like that of the people sitting in the jury box or the prosecution sitting across the courtroom,” questions Miller.
   Clarence Norris Jr. was the only family member of the Scottsboro Boys to attend the pardoning. Norris feels responsible for his father’s memory and a lack of resolution. While learning about the case, Norris discovered that in the 1982, his father had petitioned the state of Alabama for reparations — 10,000 dollars in compensation for wrongful incarceration.
   “When I found that [my father] had tried and failed, I felt like this is something that I need to finish for him,” Norris explains. “Even though he is not here to benefit from it. I feel like [the state of Alabama] still owes him.”
   In Alabama, a wrongful conviction can be awarded $50,000 for every year of prison. So Norris and his sisters hired a lawyer and filed a case against the state of Alabama for $750,000 in reparations. They are the only family of all nine Scottsboro Boys who can be found.
   States across the U.S. address reparations differently. Alabama is one of only 17 states that have mandated a fixed amount per year of wrongful incarceration. But, in Alabama, the process of petitioning for reparations is strict. Only two people have ever received compensation.  According to the Alabama Attorney General’s Office the statute of limitations for reparations for Clarence Norris, has passed. Even the language of the very Scottsboro Boys Act says that a posthumous pardon cannot be used as evidence that the state owes anyone reparations." For more on this story go to:  (Fair use rights for non-profit education and news reporting.)


There is one problem with this article - Ms. Washington did not collect all of the pictures, nor memorabilia, many contributed in building the museum and the multi-cultural foundation. The full truth has not been told about the pardon, there was more that could have been accomplished. 

This writer believes the pardon should have been the way and means to establish a Race Relations state schools education program or to increase funding for indigent defense.
Alabama incarcerates minority peoples and the poor many times over the influential and white majority. 

Only through education may racial prejudices be overcame that have been taught and encouraged via peer pressure, in families and in the local culture. The state and it's glory seeking politicians have refused to put their money where it counts. Those supporting the pardon have failed to realize that there is a cure for the disease of racism through education. Apparently some are afraid that the cure might change the face of our future for the betterment of our culture.

Then, there is the other story which goes to the very heart and soul of Jackson County Alabama and the injustice of racism and those who make a stand against wrongful conduct and social injustice. The Murder of Sheriff Matt Wann, hopefully Ms. Cleek will revisit that issue in her investigations. 

The bottom line for that story is this - Shh, we have secrets and we do not want to tell the truth about our murdered Sheriff.. 

After research, study of local cuture, and inquiries, I believe Sheriff Wann was murdered because of his not allowing the Scottsboro Defendants to be lynched by the Klan mob. Motive - revenge for foiling the lynching. The lack of prosecution and allowing the escape of the alleged murderer of Sheriff Wann points to a crime which has not been prosecuted. The murder was a conspiracy involving Klan members, other law enforcement along with political officials of the time. 

An Ode to a Sheriff from "The Odes" in part,
A story of an Odd Fellow from the heart.
The restless wings of time hath brought
the parting moment near.
The bell that tolls the midnight chime,
will knell a glorious day-
The memory of a forgotten time,
shall never fade away.
Farewell ye Brothers true and bold!
This day to you shall be.
O'er prejudice and slander old;
The Day of Victory;
And they who barr'd our infant way
Shall cheer our mighty youth,
And own the noble power to-day,
Of Friendship, Love and Truth.
The story of Matt Wann is told,
So the "Pale Face" may n'er agin be so bold,
Thus-this story of murder is told.
Poem by Garry Morgan in part and in part from the Odd Fellows, "The Odes". 
The poem represents a murder and the lack of prosecution by past elements of our local society which supported the action of the Ku Klux Klan - the "pale face." 

Past unresolved criminal acts and racism sets the stage for current cultural exclusion of those who do not agree with status quo political extremism and facilitates threatening behaviors and harassment in today's local culture from political extremists.

It was and is through Federal Law such as the Voting Rights and Civil Rights Acts that racial discrimination was prosecuted. There is an element of political neo-fascist extremists who are attempting to end the advancements of the Civil Rights Movement. Glory seeking does not resolve the age old problems of the Culture War which continues today.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

University of Alabama - Center for Ethics and Social Responsibility and the Scottsboro Boys Museum - Questions, Change of Focus Needed?

Photo of Scottsboro Boys Museum and Cultural Center by G. Morgan

Photo of the Scottsboro Defendants guarded by National Guard Troops. (Fair Usage rights for non-profit news reporting.)

Sep. 11, 2014 - Center for Ethics and Social Responsibility
Article by Olivia Grider

Headline - "UA students play crucial roles in raising awareness of – and rectifying – an 80-year-old case of injustice"

Byline - Through the Scottsboro Boys Museum University-Community Partnership and service-learning courses, students contribute to the museum and history in numerous ways.

Excerpts from article (Fair usage for non-profit news reporting) "In 2010, when Jennifer Barnett, a UA graduate student in women’s studies, mentioned to one of her professors an oral-history interview she was doing with Shelia Washington, the chairperson of the newly formed Scottsboro Boys Museum & Cultural Center, she was unaware she was setting in motion a series of events that would reignite the decades-old case... Tom Reidy, a student who was working toward his doctorate degree in history, played a crucial role in achieving the pardons. Spears invited him to join the team partnering with the Scottsboro Boys Museum in early 2011. While working on the travel guide and the history section of a grant proposal, he became friends with Washington, whose dream was to procure pardons for the Scottsboro Boys...Spears said students shaped history in two ways. “They dug up research and helped to write the history, producing usable contributions to remembering this iconic moment of Jim Crow history in the American South,” she said. “They also helped facilitate a legal change – the real, practical, public-policy effect of clearing these men’s names in the legal record...Reidy and Washington met multiple times with members of the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles and with state senators and representatives, eventually negotiating legislation that would make that dream a reality.”

Dr. Ellen Spears makes presentation at the Scottsboro Boys Museum (photo by G. Morgan)

The understanding of racial prejudice, racial and sexual discrimination, institutional racism and how it affects our nation then and today is necessary if we are to overcome the sickness of racism and its debilitating economic consequences. The Scottsboro Boys Museum and Cultural Center may be utilized as an institution to accomplish that goal, but will it?

Students at U of A have contributed much and are recognized, but until there is an effort to place forward educational programs in our public school system the sickness of racism will not be resolved in our nation, state or locally.

Is the mission of the foundation, museum and the University of Alabama's New School recognition and glory; or serve and assist as an educational facility to participate in resolving the age old sickness of racism? Maybe the current goal is to build educational resources for the needed mission, if that is the current goal it is not stated as such and should be stated publically. That is not saying recognition is not important, it is, particularly when there is a need for financial backing for programs.

Scottsboro Boys Museum Mission Statement from their web-site: "The Scottsboro Boys Museum and Cultural Center commemorates the lives and legacy of nine young African Americans who, in the 1930s, became international symbols of race-based injustice in the American South, and celebrates the positive actions of those of all colors, creeds and origins who have taken a stand against the tyranny of racial oppression. We are committed to advancing reconciliation and healing, and promoting civil rights and an appreciation of cultural diversity worldwide."  The last sentence is important as this is where education enters into the museum's mission.

Thus far, it seems recognition and glory have been the primary focus, when will the focus change to addressing personal and institutional racism in our local, state and national culture? If the goal of the University of Alabama's participation in the museum is to build it into an educational facility to assist in overcoming years of racism and Jim Crow Practice it should be stated directly and publically.

Personally, I think the underlying sickness of the disease prevents meaningful change. An opportunity was missed in the pardon act process to fund race relations education in Alabama or to increase indigent legal defense funding. The Republican administration was "drooling all over themselves" to prove they are not bigots with the pardon, this was a missed opportunity to facilitate change instead of supporting political glory seeking. Missed opportunities should be a lesson learned, but is that the case?

Adequate legal defense of the poor in our courts has never been an expressed goal of our Alabama Justice System. Prison slavery is needed to continue the prison industry. The majority of prisoners in Alabama's correctional facilities are black. It is evident racial discrimination is practiced in our communities and justice system in Alabama. The problem with Alabama Corrections:  Alabama prison slavery is a problem for another day. Ending racial/sexual discrimination via education is a problem with solutions for the here and now.

Will the University of Alabama New School learn THEIR lessons of history?

Many people have participated to insure the museum's successful beginnings, notable participants and founders are Mrs. Kim Spears and Dr. Gary Spears, far right in photo.  (photo by G. Morgan)