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 "

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A Local Opinion From Our Local Newspaper.

The Scottsboro Boys, March 1931, guarded by the Alabama National Guard to prevent vigilante justice.

Joyce Chapel, 428 West Willow Street, Scottsboro, Alabama, home of the Scottsboro Boys Museum and Cultural Center. Contact information: Scottsboro Boys Museum and Cultural Center, P.O. Box 1557, Scottsboro, Al., 35768; phone number is 256-244-1310.

 Daily Sentinel, "Our Voice" op-ed article titled "Remembering History, Changing Perception." This is what the Scottsboro Boys Museum and Cultural Center is about, "Remembering History, Changing Perception."

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Historic Joyce Chapel, circa 1876, The Scottsboro Boys Museum & Cultural Center Has a Home, History of Joyce Chapel Revealed

Members of the Scottsboro/Jackson County Multi-Cultural Heritage Foundation participate in the ceremonial delivery of check and deed for the Scottsboro Boys Museum and Cultural Center at 4:55 PM April 15, 2010.

Members and friend of the foundation stand on the stage of Joyce Chapel while Rev. Tom Bell makes presentation.

Ms. Washington and Rev. Bell discuss the ceremony concerning transference of the deed of Joyce Chapel.

Rev. R.L Shanklyn, Huntsville, Al., past President of the Alabama NAACP discusses this historic event.

Rev. Cliff Parrish delivers remarks and prayer.

Once again lovely voices grace the historic Joyce Chapel.

Rev. Gary Speers delivered the opening prayer.

Scottsboro Mayor Melton Potter discussed this historic occasion and its meaning for Scottsboro.

Wal-Mart donated flowers for this event.

38 citizens attended the ceremony at Joyce Chapel today.

Joyce Chapel Home-Coming September 1948. Faces of our African American Community. Below you will find closeups of the many people who graced Joyce Chapel during the 1948 Home-Coming event.

Historic faces of Joyce Chapel during the 1948 home-coming.

The Scottsboro Boys Museum and Cultural Center as it appears today in the historic Joyce Chapel.
The Scottsboro/Jackson County Multi-Cultural Heritage Foundation, Scottsboro Boys Museum and Cultural Center purchased the historic Joyce Chapel, founded 1876, rebuilt 1904, in Scottsboro, Alabama at 4:55PM on April 15, 2010, just 5 minutes before a deadline set by the area Methodist Superintendent.
The historic African American Church was purchased from the North Alabama Conference, Northeast District of the United Methodist Church for $75,000. The Northeast Alabama Methodist Superintendent, Rev. Tom Bell, had given the Multi-Cultural Heritage Foundation's leadership a deadline of 5:00PM Thursday to purchase the property or it would be sold to a "business investor" after 5:00PM on April 15th, according to Rev. Bell.
"It is an exciting and historic day," commented Ms. Sheila Washington, Foundation President. Ms. Washington witnessed her 17 year dream come true today at the historic ceremony. Ms Washington stated she had been pondering the possibilities of a Scottsboro Boys Museum for the past 17 years.
Ms. Washington along with Foundation Board Members Rev. Gary Speers, Mrs. Kim Spears, Mrs. Louise Toliver, Mr. Charles Elliot and Rev. Cliff Parrish participated in the ceremonial check and deed signing with Rev. Tom Bell, Northeast Alabama District Superintendent, United Methodist Church.
The Multi-Cultural Heritage Foundation received $37,500 from the Jackson County Legislative Delegation and $37,500 from an anonymous North Alabama donor via Calvert Foundation's Giving Fund.
The anonymous North Alabama donor made the donation in behalf of Judge Samuel Liebowitz who was the "Sottsboro Boys" attorney begining with the Morgan County Alabama trials at Decatur. Judge Liebowitz became a Kings County, Brooklyn, New York Judge in 1940's post World War 2 and a New York State Supreme Court Justice in 1962. A change of venue resulted in the trials being moved from Scottsboro, Jackson County Circuit Court to Decatur, Morgan County Circuit Court.
Joyce Chapel's historic record was presented along with the Warranty Deed during the ceremony. Several remodeling projects have taken place during the church's 134 year history.
It is interesting to note the Joyce Chapel congregation had taken out several mortgages on the property during the church's history for the purpose of remodeling the church. All mortgages were paid and the property was owned without encumbrances by the Trustees of Joyce Chapel. The last being paid for in the year 2000.
In Jan of 2009 Ms. Mary Abernathy, Administrative Chairperson, Joyce Chapel United Methodist Church wrote a letter to Rev. D. Tom Bell, Jr., District Superintendent, stating a person from the Seventh Day Adventist Church had approached her concerning buying the property. She referred the inquiry to Rev. Bell since we are an "area connected church." Ms Abernathy goes on to say in her letter that "we had our last service on Sunday, Jan 11, 2009."
Ms. Abernathy's closing remarks in the letter were as follows. " I want you to know that Jan. 11, 2009 was a sad day for me because I grew up in this church. But I know changes will take place and with God's help and guidance, I will find another church home
The following is the exact history as recorded within the historical documents presented to the Scottsboro Boys Museum and Cultural Center.

"History of Joyce Chapel, United Methodist Church, Scottsboro, Alabama"
"Joyce Chapel United Methodist Church was organized in 1876 by Rev. J. Willis with approximately 56 members A building was erected on land donated by Wiley Whitfield, a black landowner."
"At its founding the church was named Joyce Chapel M.E. (Methodist Episcopal) Church and all of the governing bodies were black."
"Our Church as well as other black churches was seperate from the white churches. However, in 1968, all the Methodist Churches were merged and the term "united" was incorporated. As a result the name was changed to Joyce Chapel United Methodist Church. We now have the same district superintendent governing all churches of this district, and one (1) annual conference. Today we have a few integrated congregations."
"Years ago all of the black churches in Scottsboro worshipped together, each having its designated Sunday and everyone supported that church regardless of affiliation. Joyce Chapel used the 4th Sunday and everyone came to the "pike" as it was commonly known."
"Joyce Chapel was always on a circuit with the black churches in Stevenson and Cedar Grove. One minister served the three churches, alternating Sundays. It was not until 1997 that this practice was discontinued."
"The church had never had a large membership and it has steadily declined. Currently Joyce Chapel has 11 members on roll of which 5 are active."
"The present building was erected in 1947 under the leadership of Rev. Jesse Culpeper. There are presently two landmarks from the old building-steps and a well, and the first piano is still housed in the building. The present structure was remodeled in 1984, adding brick veneer, stained windows, new carpet, and other items to beautify the church. It is soundly built with a main sanctuary an adjoining room for miscellaneous uses, pastors study, choir room, kitchen and restrooms. The ceilings are wooden and walls are plastered, finished by John Sanford and son, Ben."
"The following pastors have served Joyce Chapel: Rev. J. Willis, Callahan; Pollard; L. Langford, Slaughter, Howell, Nolan, Porter, C. Langford, Joiner, Jordan, Bell, C. Jones, Ayers, Abernathy, Dobbins, Buckley, K. Jones, C. Dobbins (Rev. Dobbins was the first full time pastor.)"
There was no author listed on this history. However, since Ms. Mary E. Abernathy was the last officer of Joyce Chapel, the above history is attributed to Ms. Abernathy as the Administrative Chairperson, Joyce Chapel United Methodist Church.
There are two pastors which must be noted as additions to the history. 1) Rev. A.L. Boyd, 1904, M.E; source, Joyce Chapel Cornerstone dated 1904. 2) Rev. Diane Williams, last pastor of Joyce Chapel; source, sign in front of church.

The Daily Sentinel Story link by Dewayne Patterson of the event.

Left in Alabama's coverage of the event.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Joyce Chapel, Home-Coming, 1948

1948 Joyce Chapel-Current home of the Scottsboro Boys Museum.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Scottsboro Boys Museum and Cultural Center to be Purchased

The Scottsboro Boys Museum and Cultural Center has received a final contribution from an internationally recognized foundation to purchase the Joyce Chapel property from the The North Alabama United Methodist Association.
A ceremony will take place at The Scottsboro Boys Museum and Cultural Center, Joyce Chapel, 428 West Willow St., Scottsboro, Alabama on Thursday April 15, 2010 at 4PM. All are welcome to attend this historical event.
UPDATE: Article from Scottsboro's The Daily Sentinel-

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Travel South Showcase, Alabama Tourism Commission

A group picture, Alabama Travel South Showcase, Alabama Tourism Commission, Jackson County Chamber of Commerce participated in this mornings breakfast tour. A great group of people who will take back to their homes a positive picture of Scottsboro, Alabama.

All aboard, the tourism group departs for a stop at Unclaimed Baggage before their departure to Birmingham.

The group is traveling in style aboard this coach. This was a special tour which included tourism directors from different parts of the United States including Alabama.

All aboard! Sheila and Charles bid farewell to the tour group.

It was an early morning call for the Scottsboro Boys Museum and Cultural Center Staff this morning. The tour bus pulled up to the front door and 14 guests from the Travel South Showcase, Alabama Tourism Commission and the Chamber of Commerce ate breakfast at the museum and heard the story of the Scottsboro Boys Case.

Congressman Parker Griffith's Visit to the Scottsboro Boys Museum and Cultural Center

On Friday April 9, 2010 Congressman Parker Griffith, MD visited the Scottsboro Boys Museum and Cultural Center. Left to right: Dr. Griffith; Ms. Sheila Washington, Chairperson Scottsboro Boys Museum Executive Committee; Mr. Gene Tackett, District Director for Congressman Griffith.
Dr. Griffith discusses the museum with Ms. Kim Speers. Ms. Speers is on the museum Executive Committee and is the Librarian at Brownwood School.

Ms. Speers with Dr. Judy Berry. Dr. Berry is the Scottsboro Board of Education Superintendent. Congressman Griffith had visited the schools prior to visiting the museum.

Dr Griffith, Mr. Gary Speers, Chamber of Commerce Director Rick Roden, Mr. Charles Elliot, museum Executive Committee and Ms. Washington. Ms. Washington explains to Dr. Griffith the historical significance of the Scottsboro Boys case and tells the history of our museum.

Mr. Gary Speers discuses the history of the museum and our quest for funding with Dr. Griffith.