The Scottsboro Boys: Tackling Racial Injustice Through Minstrelsy | Connecticut Public Radio

The Scottsboro Boys: Tackling Racial Injustice Through Minstrelsy

Jul 10, 2019

The Scottsboro Boys were arrested as freight train hoboes in Alabama in 1931 and quickly convicted by an all-white jury of raping two white women. After several retrials and appeals, the case led to two landmark Supreme Court rulings on the right to adequate counsel and prohibiting the exclusion of black people from juries.

Yet, the problems in 1931 -- wrongful conviction, juvenile sentencing, police brutality, tampering with juries and evidence, and adequate counsel -- are still a problem in 2019. 

Shows like Ava DuVernay's Netflix series "When They See Us," and the podcast, "In the Dark," are reigniting the injustice of the past within the context of current injustice and Black Lives Matter.

Playhouse on Park is currently staging The Scottsboro Boys, a Kander and Ebb musical satire that stages the play within the frame of minstrelsy, a potent symbol of Jim Crow injustice. Does their use of minstrelsy expose the absurdity of racism or is it simply offensive? We continue the debate. 

Join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.


Colin McEnroe and Chion Wolf contributed to this show.