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 "

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Corruption, Mismanagement, Scottsboro Multicultural Foundation

(photo by G. Morgan)

Some of the current managers and board of directors of the Scottsboro Multicultural Foundation see the Scottsboro Boys Museum as a Money Tree to fleece the public of funds and property. Preying on "White Guilt" coupled with no ethical standards, the foundation's management have abused a worthwhile project in Scottsboro, Alabama.

The records of the Scottsboro Multicultural Foundation have been requested for a long period of time, it became apparent there was a misuse of funds in July 2010. Finally, after filing of a legal action, the Jackson County Circuit Court Judge, Civil Case 2011-00024, ordered the Director/Chairperson and members of the Board of Directors not to interfere with the production of records. Not only has the Board of Directors interfered with the production of records, the Chairperson/Director and members of the Board of Directors present on April 20, 2011 at the board meeting are in contempt of the court order and conspired to remove myself and one other member who were committed to accountability of funds of the Scottsboro Multicultural Foundation.

Complicating matters has been a disbarred attorney advising the Board of Directors on legal matters. This includes submission of legal documents, changing of by laws, changing of the articles of incorporation. Also, after a review of records, it was revealed that at least one Board Member was never legitimately voted onto the Board of Directors. The Chairperson made a unilateral decision to bring the person on the board after a vote which did not approve the new board member. As if this is not enough, the foundation bylaws have never been ratified at a Board Meeting. When this was brought up at the April 12, 2011 meeting by me, I placed a motion on the table, the motion received a second, for the Board of Directors to accept the current bylaws, they refused and voted not to accept the bylaws. Yet, the misguided directors (misguided by the disbarred attorney) went ahead and amended the bylaws in a contemptuous scheme so they could remove the two persons from the board that demanded accountability.

I must report this to citizens who have supported the Scottsboro Boys Museum because they deserve to know the truth. Misuse of taxpayer funds, gross mismanagement, failed accountability and misappropriation of funds have occurred. Some members of the Board of Directors have conspired to cover-up the misuse of funds by the Director of the Scottsboro Boys Museum, Chairperson of the Board of Directors, Curator of the museum, one in the same person.

In a recent vote, April 20, 2011, by the Board of Directors of the Scottsboro Multicultural Foundation, the Directors voted me and one other person off of the board who were attempting to obtain records as entitled by the laws of the State of Alabama and maintain accountability. A Temporary Restraining Order was signed by Judge Jennifer Holt prohibiting the interference in the production of records. The court order mattered naught to the conspiring members of the Foundation Board of Directors. The Foundation Board removed us via a change in the By Laws, conducted a kangaroo court proceeding at the museum and made false and slanderous allegations concerning diversion of funds at the behest of the Chairperson/Director and the disbarred attorney. The board members who were falsely accused did not have access to any funds at the bank. The removal of the two board members was a malicious action to cover-up wrong doing and gross mismanagement of funds and property of the Scottsboro Multicultural Foundation by irresponsible officers of the Foundation.

Public tax-payer funds have been donated to the Scottsboro Multicultural Foundation by the City of Scottsboro, Alabama; The Jackson County Commission and the Jackson County Legislative Delegation. Federal Grants via the University of Alabama have been utilized to support the foundation. Representatives of the political entities and University have been advised as to the pending court actions and fund misuse described herein.

Members of the board of directors contrived a plan to falsely accuse and then remove two board members to prevent the further disclosure of records, particularly the IRS Form 1023-Application of Non-Profit Status, the March bank statement, property inventory records, museum accession records, receipts of over $4,500 in travel expenses, contracts and other documentation involving the Foundation Chairperson/Director.

Misuse of funds has been discovered. Making matters worse, the Treasurer resigned in August of 2010 but continued to sign checks, and members of the board of directors conspired to cover up this issue. The Chairperson/Director also signed checks, many made out to the Director. It was also discovered there were a considerable number of blank checks cashed, with no name on the checks as to whom paid.

A review of meeting minutes and bank statements partially produced per court order reveal over $3,200 of store purchases made with no receipts provided. The checks reveal the funds were utilized to purchase goods at surrounding retail stores apparently for the personal benefit of the Director/Chairperson. A review of the bank statements and records provided demonstrates there were fewer than 16% of receipts on hand for purchases by the Chairperson/Director who handled funds and signed the checks. There were also cash donations not properly handled.

The Chairperson/Director/Curator has also refused to return loaned property totaling $650, a receipt was produced but the property was refused to be returned. The loaned property is reflected as such in the Museum accession records which the Chairperson/Director/Curator refuses to produce.

An investigation by law enforcement must occur, as public tax-payer funds have been mismanaged and misappropriated. I have contacted the Scottsboro Police Department and discussed the matter with investigators of the State of Alabama, and I have been informed the District Attorney's Office has been contacted. I cannot determine the outcome, but as a concerned citizen I certainly have a responsibility to insure that misuse of public funds does not occur and report wrong-doing when I see it.

I will discuss with anyone the records I have disclosing the mismanagement of the board of directors and the abuse of tax-payer funds. It is wrongful for anyone to attempt a coverup of any wrong-doing in this matter involving tax-payer funds. I do not think it would be the intention of any responsible official to prevent the release of any information which points to mismanagement or corruption by the Scottsboro Multicultural Board of Directors.

Three previous board members have resigned due to mismanagement of the Scottsboro Multicultural Foundation's by the Director/Chairperson. This is a shame. The Scottsboro Boys Museum project, along with the Scottsboro Multicultural Foundation's projects, were very worthwhile endeavors and vitally important to this community. As a former board member noted (in their letter of resignation over lack of accountability), this museum is about "teaching that racism and hiding wrong-doing is destructive and harmful to society as a whole." My aim is to reveal any wrong-doing and to protect the public trust.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Historical Event at The Jackson County Alabama Courthouse, Advancements of a Nation and People, History of the Scottsboro Boys Trials - 1931 - 2011 - 80 Years of History

 Jackson County Courthouse as it appeared in 1931, "Corbis" photo courtesy of Steve Kennamer, taken in April 1933.
 The Scottsboro defendants in Scottsboro behind the old Jackson County Jail under guard by the Alabama National Guard. Photo April 1931, The Progressive Age.
Rare photo of inside the courtroom at the Jackson County Courthouse,Jury Venire, April 1931. Photo Courtesy of Steve Kennamer.

Friday, March 25th, 2011, 10:00AM, a ceremony began surrounding the bench of Judge A.E. Hawkins, the racist Jackson County Circuit Court Judge whose rulings resulted in one of the most heinous miscarriages of justice in our nations history, "The Scottsboro Boys Trials." 

80 years to the day of the arrest of the Scottsboro defendants, 9 young men caught in the struggle of the Great Depression and a cultural war of racial discrimination and legal injustice of Jim Crow America. March the 25th 1931 began one of the most tragic events in American legal and cultural history lasting 45 years when Governor George Wallace of Alabama pardoned the last Scottsboro defendants, Clarence Norris in October of 1976.

Why you may ask is this a historical occasion, the Honorable Victoria Roberts, Presiding Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, a Black Woman. Judge Roberts sat behind the "bench" which Judge A.E. Hawkins presided in the "Scottsboro Boys" trials and told the story of the "Scottsboro Boys" trials and what the case represents to United States Jurisprudence today.

 This ceremony celebrates the advancements and achievements of Race Relations in Scottsboro, Alabama and our nation, it celebrates and memorializes the sacrifices of the young 9 Scottsboro defendants, it celebrates and memorializes the sacrifices of those who gave their lives so that Civil Rights and Racial Equality is the rule of our laws instead of the exception, it celebrates education and justice as a tool to overcome racial prejudice. Story from the Daily Sentinel:

A plaque exists on the south side of the Jackson County Courthouse Square telling a short story of the trials. This was the back of the program dedication ceremony describing the plaque. Click on the image for an expanded view.

 This week, April 4 thru April 8 2011, 80 years after the same days of 1931,  marks the conviction and death sentence of Clarence Norris and Charlie Weems in their trial; Haywood Patterson's trial, sentenced to death; Andy Wright, Willie Roberson, Ozie Powell, Olen Montgomery and Eugene Williams trial, sentenced to death.

Roy Wright, alleged to be age 12 ( Evidence at the Decatur trials demonstrated he was 13, a juvenile at arrest.) was tried as an adult in a seperate trial, the jury could not reach a verdict due to his youth, a hung jury by one vote.

One day I pray and hope that we as a nation may be able to accept and judge all people based on their personal character, not the color of their skin or cultural background related to race, creed, sex or religious preference. Unfortunately, as a nation and culture we are not to that point at this time in our history but we have made advancements thru the sacrifices of a few. We as a people and nation have further to travel in the most deadly of wars, the "Culture War" for the souls of our citizens.

May God grant us the power to overcome racial prejudice. Education is the key to overcoming the ignorance of racial prejudice. Education is what the Scottsboro Boys Museum and Cultural Center represents, it is our mission and represents our future. As history goes, the story has just begun,