Page 1

out of 12 10Student Guide

music and lyrics by

book by


original direction and choreography recreated by




original direction and choreography by



Given Circumstances

It was 23 years ago when composer John Kander, lyricist Fred Ebb, book writer David Thompson and director/choreographer Susan Stroman first collaborated together. Wanting to create together again, the four sat down around Fred Ebb’s kitchen table and brainstormed - the result was THE SCOTTSBORO BOYS.

WHO Were the Scottboro Boys?

WHAT is Riding the Rails?

During the Great Depression, jobs were scarce and people were desperate to support themselves and their families. When they heard news of work in other cities or states, they would hop on moving freight trains to ride for free (and illegally), and that practice was dubbed “riding the rails”.

Nine African Amercian boys, who came to be known as the Scottsboro Boys, were riding the rails of a Southern Railroad train going from Chattanooga to Memphis, Tennessee on March 25th, 1931.

WHEN It All Went South

When one of the white boys stepped on one of the black boy's hands, a stone throwing fight erupted on the train. When the white boys were pushed from the train, they told authorities they'd been assaulted. The train was stopped in Scottsboro, Alabama to be searched. When police also found two women riding the rails they were about to arrest them for vagrancy when one of the women, Victoria Price, said she and the other female had been raped by the nine African American boys.

HOW Do They Tell the Story?

The four collaborators decided to use the format of a minstrel show to tell the Scottsboro boys’ story. A popular form of performance in early America,minstrel The Scottsboro boys surrounded by Alabama National Guardsmen shows exploited black stereotypes to in the Decatur, Alabama jail (1933). Seated with their defense entertain. In THE lawyer Samuel Liebowitz, is HAYWOOD PATTERSON. Behind them left to right are: OLEN MONTGOMERY, CLARENCE NORRIS, SCOTTSBORO BOYS musical, the boys start WILLIE ROBERSON, ANDY WRIGHT, OZIE POWELL, EUGENE off the show participatWILLIAMS, CHARLIE WEEMS and ROY WRIGHT. ing in this format but as WHY Tell This Story? the razzel dazzle unravels, revealing the "As a young boy growing up in Kansas City, I remember when the truth, they refuse to “play their parts”. Scottsboro boys were first in the headlines. I remember the conversations with my parents about what the trials meant. I am sure there were similar Why Now? conversations around kitchen tables across the country. I also "It's essential to bring the Scottsboro boys remember when the headlines began to fade, and the Scottsboro back into the national conversation about race. Nine boys graduallydisappeared from the national spotligh lives were destroyed. Nine lives that matter every bit as - John Kander, composer of THE SCOTTSBORO BOYS much now as then." - from the introduction to



A Broadway Leagacy: KANDER & EBB

When lyricist Fred Ebb died in 2004, he and John Kander had just finished the first draft of THE SCOTTSBORO BOYS. One of Broadway's longest musical partnerships, composer John Kander said they never had a single argument.

und like our best, we so "When we're at Kander composer John one person." -

"I think the reason for that effortlessness is confidence. I feel confident when I've written something that you will properly set it musically and that I will like the song when you're finished." - lyricist Fred Ebb

A Match Made in Music

Eleven of their twenty musicals made it to Broadway over the forty years of teaming together, and neither Kander nor Ebb partnered with anyone else though each had offers. Though they remained loyal to one another in music, Kander and Ebb were not close as friends. When asked about this Kander remarked, "Yes, Fred and I were very different people and, yet, somehow - I've said this before - when we got in that Little Room and started to work together we became a third person that I guess you could call Kander & Ebb. But, it was always a total collaboration."

Hits on Stage and Screen

Some of Kander and Ebb's most wellknown musicals are KISS OF THE SPIDER WOMAN, CABARET, and CHICAGO. The latter two were adapted for the big screen, and Kander and Ebb also made a third movie musical, NEW YORK, NEW YORK.

A Singular Style

Many of Kander and Ebb's musicals feature the underdog who is faced with larger than life circumstances. They are also known for their concept musicals, using the music and performance style of a specific time and place for their story. In CHICAGO, they utilized the razzle-dazzle of vaudeville to contrast the corruption of Chicago law. In CABARET, they told a cabaret performer's tale by structuring the show like a cabaret in Nazi Germany. In THE SCOTTSBORO BOYS, they chose the popular minstrel shows of the 1930s to highlight the culture which fed the injustice.

"Kander and Ebb combine razzmatazz with a political conscience, and make brazen spirits seem a kind of moral courage." - David Richards in The Washington Post “With Kander and Ebb, I heard my feelings stated exactly as I felt them, in the kind of language that I thought was so marvelously straight-ahead and in the moment." - Liza Minelli, star of CABARET


The REAL Scottsboro Boys

Behind the songs and razzle-dazzle storytelling of THE SCOTTSBORO BOYS are nine real boys - some friends, some strangers - whose entire lives were shaped by one false accusation on a southern train.


"The reason I took such an interest in learning was this : I never believed I was going to die. A condemned man who knows his time is up, he will not take up learning som ething new. I have hope." - Haywood Patterson


The son of a sharecropper, when he was fourteen he started riding the rails to look for work to help support his family. It was his hand that was stepped on by a white boy which caused the fight that got the train stopped. Because of his strong-will, he was the most targeted of the Scottsboro boys, and he was tried and convicted four times. He learned to read and write in prison. In jail, he suffered whippings, solitary confinement, and even venomous snakes. In 1941, a guard paid another inmate to kill Haywood. Despite being stabbed 20 times, he survived. Escaping from prison in 1947 for the second time, he lived with his sister in Detroit until he published his memoir Scottsboro Boy, in 1950, which led to his arrest by the FBI.


Before riding the rails, Eugene was a dishwasher. At trial he said he was involved in the fight, but never saw the women before. After he was convicted of rape, the Alabama Supreme Court overturned that conviction because he was so young. He remained caught in the web of trails and jail until he was freed by a deal lawyer Samuel Leibowitz struck freeing him and three of the other boys in 1937. Once he was free, he tried to make a career in vaudeville and hoped to get a job in a jazz orchestra someday.


The REAL Scottsboro Boys "If I have to spend more than one or two years longer, I just as well spend the rest of my life. If I was an old man perhaps I wouldn't mind it so much but that's what's against me; I'm young and innocent of the crime." - Roy Wright


Andy's brother, Roy worked at a grocery store before he became the youngest of the Scottsboro boys on his first trip away from home. Because of his youth, he was tried separately. He was also beaten by the police and, at the first trial, was forced to testify that he saw the other boys rape the two women. The trial ended with a hung jury - with some jurors calling for the death penalty when the prosecution had only asked for a life sentence - and Roy was jailed until 1937, when he was one of the four freed by Leibowitz. Then, he toured the country to campaign for the freedom of the other Scottsboro boys. After that, he went into the army and then the Merchant Marines. in n ve bee ough I' ." h t s a ury ms "It see re for a cent on in pris he e il h w , t Wrigh - Andy


Roy and Andy’s mother, Ada Wright, undertook a tour of Europe to appeal for her sons’ lives and raise funds for their legal fees. In this photo, Mother Wright (center), as she was known, is greeted by unemployed workers in Glasgow, Scotland, July 4, 1932. Although she was welcomed in several cities in Scotland and Britain, Ireland’s Prime Minister banned her from speaking in Dublin.


The older brother of Roy, Andy quit school when his father died and drove a truck to help support the family. When four of the boys were released in 1937, he wrote a letter to the Scottsboro Defense Committee asking if his freedom had been traded for the four who were released. He was beaten to the point of hospitalization several times while in jail. He was paroled in 1944, but when he left Alabama in 1946 it was a violation of his parole and he was put back in jail until 1950. Because of this, he was the last of the Scottsboro boys to be freed from Alabama prisons.

The REAL Scottboro Boys


A drug store delivery boy with a deceased mother and six dead siblings, when his father went ill Charlie was sent to live with his aunt in Georgia. He was riding his way home to Tennessee when the train was stopped. He was the oldest of the Scottsboro boys. Despite being tear-gassed for reading Communist literature, contracting tuberculosis, and being stabbed by a prison guard, he had a clean record while he was in jail and he was paroled in 1943. He moved to Atlanta, got married, and worked in a laundry. ple, ck peo hat you la b o t y, is t sson "The le , to everybod ur rights, n o childre ys fight for y fe." to my a r alw by ou li should n if it costs y g pardoned in e b eve 6 7 er e in 19 ris, aft ce Nor eorge Wallac n e r la -C or G Govern

"Please tell al l the young m ens to try hard and not to go to pr ison." - Charles Wee ms, upon his release

Charlie Weems & Clarence Norris in Birmingham Jail, 1935 (Birmingham News)


First began working in the cotton fields, when his father died he worked long shifts at the Goodyear plant. When the job ended, he rode the rails to find work. Because of the accusation he was sentenced to death three times and spent fifteen years in prison, where he could hear the sounds of others being executed from his cell. His second conviction was overturned by the Supreme Court in Norris v. Alabama because black citizens had been excluded from the jury. Though it violated his parole, he moved to New York City where he lived for thirty years as a fugitive until the NAACP helped him obtain a pardon from Alabama Governor George Wallace. The last of the surviving Scottsboro boys, he died in 1989.


The REAL Scottsboro Boys OZIE POWELL, 15

"I done giv Alabama is e up…'cause everyb ody in down With no formal education, Ozie left home - Ozie Pow on me and is mad at e me." ll, to his m at the age of fourteen and worked in lumber other after h e was shot and saw mills for a year. He got on the train alone the day of the incident and said he saw the fight but wasn't involved. Although it was his court case, Powell v. Alabama, where the Supreme Court ruled that the first 1931 trial was a violation of the boys' right to adequate legal representation, Ozie spent five years in jail without a retrial. By the time he testified at Haywood’s fourth trial in 1936, Powell had suffered years of abuse from the guards. So on his way back to jail, he attacked the deputy sherrif and was shot in the head. He survived, but with permanent brain damage, and was jailed for the assault until he was paroled in 1946.


e, Raised by his grandmother, it was her death in 1930 that 't get fre "If I don they give drove Willie to leave his job as a busboy to look for ther I just ra ctric chair work elsewhere. He was riding in the caboose when ele me the t of the train was stopped. He was also looking for free dead ou e and b ery." medical care - he suffered from syphilis and asthma my mis rson Robe and couldn't walk without a cane. Because of these - Willie medical conditions, jail was especially hard on him and he received no medical care there, either. He was also diagnosed with "prison neurosis." His difficulty speaking hurt his credibility in court, but he was finally one of the four released thanks to Leibowitz in 1937. Moving up North, his health continued to plague him and he died of an asthma attack.

and cried, sfied." lked my cell a w I t h ig can't be sati n I e m o s e "All last n lo one get so jailhouse d in his song ld o ry e is m th o e lues tg s n o M Cau n le O Jailhouse B Lonesome


Born in Monroe, Georgia, Olen was riding alone in the back of the train when it was stopped. Suffering from terrible vision, his glasses were broken on the day of his arrest. He was not given another pair for two years. He wrote letters to his supporters asking for a six string guitar because he hoped to be a ‘King of the Blues’. He was the fourth boy who was released in 1937 as part of the Leibowitz deal. Afterwards, he traveled the country with Roy Wright speaking in defense of the other Scottsboro boys who were still in jail, and bought a saxophone and guitar.



In THE SCOTTSBORO BOYS, two of the boys also play the two women who falsely accused them, Victoria Price and Ruby Bates. The boys' New York lawyer, Samuel Leibowitz, also has a featured role.

VICTORIA PRICE Victoria worked at a cotton mill for $1.20 a day and was married three times. A neighbor described her as the type to, "be out at all hours of the night and curse and swear, and be a general nuisance to the negro population." Because of the depression, the mill only had work a few days a month. So, Victoria boarded the same train as the Scottsboro Boys to look for work. When the train was stopped and the police were about to charge her with vagrancy, to save her own skin she accused the nine boys of rape. When she was given a chance to change her story in 1936 without being charged with perjury, she refused. She married twice more and lived under an assumed name in Tennessee until she died in 1982. She never apologized.

RUBY BATES When Ruby’s father was jailed for whipping her brother, her family moved to Huntsville and lived in an unpainted shack in the poorest section of the town. At age fifteen, she got a job working at the same cotton mill as Victoria. She too had a reputation, and was described on record by her neighbors as a "notorious prostitute." In the first trial, she was unable to identify any of her attackers and her story often didn't match up with Victoria's. At Haywood's trial in 1933, she was a surprise witness for the defense, admitting she had lied. After that, she actively campaigned around the country in support of freeing the Scottsboro boys. She is quoted as saying that she was, "sorry for all the trouble that I caused them."

Leibowitz About the Ladies “Even the dumbest cop on the [New York City] force would have spotted those two as tramps and liars. You know damn well they lied that day at the Paint Rock station and the Price girl has been lying ever since.” – Samuel Leibowitz to prosecutor Thomas Knight, December 1936 SAMUEL LEIBOWITZ A New York criminal defense lawyer, Leibowitz had won seventy-seven cases and had no convictions when he was approached by the International Labor Defense, the legal branch of the American Communist movement, to represent the boys. While he wasn't a supporter of communism, he represented the boys pro bono (without getting paid). During the trails he endured racial slurs and even received death threats. He was determined to clear the Scottsboro boys, and once said to a crowd of supporters, “I promise you citizens of Harlem that I will fight with every drop of blood in my body and with the help of God that those Scottsboro boys shall be free.” When he reluctantly struck a deal that freed only four of them in 1937, he said, "I say yes, but with a heavy heart and I feel very badly about it." After completing his services, he returned to New York and later became a judge.


The CULTURE of the Times: BEFORE Scottsboro The plight of the Scottsboro boys was about more than two white women’s accusations. It was the result of decades of prejudice, segregation and hardship in America. “It shall be unlawful to conduct a restaurant or other place for the serving of food in the city, at which white and colored people are served in the same room, unless such white and colored persons are effectually separated by a solid partition extending from the floor upward to a distance of seven feet or higher, and unless a separate entrance from the street is provided for each compartment.” – Jim Crow law in the State of Alabama

Separate But Equal Named after the minstrel character, the “Jim Crow” laws were city and state laws which forced segregation. Those who broke the laws could legally be fined, jailed, or otherwise punished.

No Trial, Just the Rope

Limited Opportunities Most African American women were only hired as domestics – such as maids, cooks or laundresses. Some were teachers or nurses, though segregation limited them to teaching or nursing black citizens only. Men mostly did hard labor – mining, factory work, bricklaying, or delivery. No black person was allowed to be a store clerk, fireman, policeman or salesman. Some African American men became dentists, doctors, or principals, but again they were only allowed to serve their own community.

4,743 lynchings occurred in America between 1882-1968. 3,446 of those lynched were African American. Out of those lynchings 299 happened in the state of Alabama. When the Scottsboro boys were arrested, a mob of people rose up wanting the boys to be lynched instead of receiving a trial.

The Perception of Black Men

"They said that all Negroes were brutes and had to be held down by stern repressive measures or the number of rapes on white woman would be larger than it is. Their point seemed to be that it was only by ruthless oppression of the Negro that any white woman was able to escape raping at Negro hands. Starting with this notion, it followed that they could not conceive that two white girls found riding with a crowd of Negroes could possibly have escaped raping." - Hollace Ransdall, an observer of the Scottsboro trial sent by the American Civil Liberties Union


Bad Land, Bad Books “Lots of people moved off the land because of crop failures. The land was just worn out and the South was suffering from terrible droughts. People got deep into debt - debts that were kept on the books, even when they had actually been paid off. It was hard to challenge the records kept by the landowners. Through the twenties and thirties, many black people hoboed away from the South because they realized that on the farms the more you worked the more you owed.” - Mrs. Peacolia Barge, an Alabama resident

Minstrel Shows

An old form of entertainment unique to America, minstrel shows exploited and dehumanized black Americans by using exaggerated stereotyping and by glorifing plantation life. The shows originated in the 1830s and were popular for the next hundred years in the North and South.

Setting the Minstrel Stage When a minstrel show came to town, they arrived with a parade much like circuses of the time. Marching their way to the venue, they gave a concert to drum up an audience with teasers. The show itself was split into two parts. For the first half, there was a semi-circle of chairs on stage. Actors in blackface entered wearing mismatched clownish clothing, and the Interlocutor began the show, narrating between the scenes and action. In the second half, the Interlocutor introduced different variety acts with a format and style that later grew into vaudeville.

The Interlocutor By definition, an interlocutor is someone who engages in conversation. In minstrel shows, the interlocutor was the straight man of the comedy, orchestrating the setups for the endmen's punchlines. He also introduced the acts and narrated for the audience, making him the ringleader of the show. As such, he was often dressed in a suit from the current time, and was usually a tall,large man with a confident, booming voice. As in THE SCOTTSBORO BOYS, the Interlocutor was usually a white man.


MR. BONES: Mr. Tambo, are you ready to have a good time? MR TAMBO: Indeed! Let’s have all the men lean over and kiss the ladies in the front.

MR. BONES: And all the men in the front kiss the ladies behind!


INTERLOCUTOR: What are you thinking about, Mr. Bones? What is there on your mind this evening?

BONES: I was jis' thinking 'bout dat business I was in some time ago. I started in de -- what you call dat business dat hab free balls hanging out? (sic) INTERLOCUTOR: Oh, you mean the pawnbroker.

BONES: Yes, I was a pawnbroker wen I went in de bis, but I was a dead broker wen I came out. (sic)

- from Minstrel The Endmen Gags an End Men's Mr. Bones and Mr. Tambo Hand-Book, a 19th Called the endmen Century book because they sat at the end of the semicircle, Mr. Bones and Mr. Tambo were so named because in the original mistral shows they played the bones (similar to playing two spoons) and the tambourine in the orchestra. As they evolved into a clownish comedy duo, they used theirinstruments as a musical button for their jokes. Wearing gaudy patterned clothing, they were dancers, jokesters and singers.


Minstrel Shows

Jumpin' Jim Crow An actor, Thomas Rice, claimed to hear a black person singing the lyrics, "My name is Jim Crow. Weel about and turn about and do jis so, Eb'ry time I weel about I jump Jim Crow." One of the first actors in blackface, Rice created a song and dance routine for a character he named Jim Crow in 1828. The character caught on and became a stock character in minstrel shows, and within a decade the term "Jim Crow" became a racial slur against African Americans. Other Stock Characters Some other stereotypes that were created or made popular by minstrel shows were Sambo, Zip Coon, Mammy, Uncle Tom, Buck, and Pickaninny. Unfortunately these stereotypes did not die out with the minstrel tradition, and could be seen in advertising, cartoons and movies. Think of where the icon of Aunt Jemima came from, for example, before maple syrup.

Performing in Blackface When minstrel shows first started, white performers wore blackface in order to play their caricatures of black characters. Blackface was made by burning a cork, grinding it up into powder, and then adding water to make it a paste. The performers applied cocoa butter first to protect their face, then the black make-up. Finally, they drew exaggerated lips using bright red lipstick. As minstrel shows grew in popularity, minstrel companies hired former slaves to perform for "authenticity." These black performers were also forced to wear blackface.

Toe-Tappers Though mistral shows went rightfully out of fashion, some of their songs did not. Camptown Races, Oh! Susanna and My Old Kentucky Home are all songs which originated in minstrel shows. Oh! Susanna inspired both a play and a movie. The hoedown is also from minstral times - the performers formed a semicircle and took turns singing and dancing in the middle. The Cakewalk Another part of minstrel shows seen in THE SCOTTSBORO BOYS was the cakewalk. This evolved from a real 'competition' on plantations, where slave owners made their slaves dress up in their fancy clothes and parade around for their entertainment. It's called the cakewalk because the slave pronounced the winner was often given a bit of cake as a prize.


The Trails . . . the Verdicts . . .

One accusation in 1931 lead to years of trials, convictions, jail time, media attention, protesters, supporters and two Supreme Court rulings. The boys' plight shaped history and helped to spark the Civil Rights movement, but at what cost? National Guardsmen lead defendents into the Morgan County courthouse.

Supreme Court Ruling #1

Legal Mis-Representation

The boys first trial was only days after their arrest, and they were given lawyers Stephen Roddy and Milo Moody to represent them. Roddy was a real estate attorney that one observer remarked was, "so stewed he could hardly walk straight." Moody was seventy-years old and hadn't been to trial in decades. After the boys were found guilty, the Supreme Court intervened and said it was a mistrial because they weren't granted proper due process of the law.

“In light of the facts outlined in the forepart of this opinion – the ignorance and illiteracy of the defendants, their youth, the circumstances of public hostility, the imprisonment and close surveillance of the defendants by the military forces, the fact that their friends and families were all in other states and communication with them necessarily difficult, and above all that they stood in deadly peril of their lives – we think the failure of the trial court to give them reasonable time and opportunity to secure counsel was a clear denial of due process.” ov er – from the Supreme Court ruling in Powell v. Alabama, November 7, 1932 f d quibble ir womanhood o n a t u o o g fa 't e n n o th ct "D utio in and prote n, for the prosec e n o d it Hutso …Get A Jury Without Their Peers 936 - Melvin evidence te." ation in 1 m m u s ta g s t In 1931, justice for African Americans in the South was his closin this grea difficult for many of reasons, including that African Americans were excluded from serving on juries. For the trials of the Scottboro boys it was no different, as verdicts were decided by all white jurors. In 1935, the Supreme Court intervened again, ruling that once again the boys were not given the equal protection they deserved.

Supreme Court Ruling #2

"The clerk of the jury commission and the clerk of the circuit court had never known of a negro serving on a grand jury in Jackson County. The court The 12 white jurymen who found Haywood Patterson guilty in his first trial. reporter, who had not missed a session in that county for twenty-four years, and two jury commissioners testified to the same effect. One of the latter, who was a member of the commission which made up the jury roll for the grand jury which found the indictment, testified that he had, 'never known of a single instance where any negro sat on any grand or petit jury in the entire history of that county.'…That testimony in itself made out a prima facie case of the denial of the equal protection which the Constitution guarantees.” - from the Supreme Court ruling in Norris v. Alabama, 1935


. . . the Letters . . . the Headlines

"Behind the headlines, the spectacle, the ongoing trials, the histrionics of politicians and lawyers was the story of nine young African American boys, determined to prove that they mattered." - John Kander, composer of THE SCOTTSBORO BOYS Cries for Help In addition to writing letters to their families, the boys also wrote letters to their supporters. The quotes below are taken directly from letters two of the boys wrote to reach out to the public.

"What are we guilty of? Nothing but being out of a job. Nothing but looking for work. Our kinfolk was starving for food. We wanted to help them out. So we hopped a freight - just like any of you workers might a done…We was taken by a mob and framed up on rape charges. Help us boys. We ain't done nothing wrong. We are only workers like you are. Only our skin is black." - written by Roy Wright

"I am innocent, as innocent as the tiny mite of life just beginning to stir beneath my heart. Honest Mr. Engdahl, I haven't did anything to be imprisoned like this. And all the boys send their best regards to you all and best wishes. So I would appreciate an interview at your earliest convenience." - written by Haywood Patterson

Read All About It As the story hit the news, papers in the North and South featured very different headlines. The one on the left ran in the New York Times on March 26, 1931. A southern newspaper, The Jackson County Sentinel, ran a very different headline of the same incident, "ALL NEGROES POSITIVELY IDENTIFIED BY GIRLS AND ONE WHITE BOY WHO WAS HELD PRISONER WITH PISTOL AND KNIVES WHILE NINE BLACK FIENDS COMMITTED REVOLTING CRIME."

Anti-Semitism at the Trial "Show them that Alabama justice cannot be bought and sold with Jew money from New York." This statement, taken directly from court doucments, was made by Morgan County prosecutor Wade Wright in his closing remarks in 1933, and became the inspiration for the song Jew Money in THE SCOTTSBORO BOYS. “"Now, as for the “Jew money” from New York, let me say this: That when the hour of our country's need came there was no question of Jew or gentile, black or white - all, all together braved the smoke and flame of Flanders Fields." - Samuel Leibowitz, referencing WWI in his closing remarks in 1933


"Seventy ye ars ago the sca baggers ma lawags and carpetrc said: 'The N hed into the South an d egro is your equal and y accept him ou will as such'. T oday, the re York march ds of into the Sou th with a law New and again s book ay, 'The Ne gro is your you will acc equal and ept him as s uch.' We w - The Jacks ill no on County S entinel, 193 t!" 3


Before she went down in history as the African American woman who refused to sit at the back of the bus, Rosa Parks was Rosa McCauley, a young woman who marched for the Scottsboro Boys.

The Lady Behind the Lady THE SCOTTSBORO BOYS musical doesn't begin with any of the boys. It begins with a lady who is remembering what happened to the boys back in the 1930s. As the tale of the boys unfolds onstage, she's present as a silent witness and caretaker to the boys at their times of need. This lady is Rosa Parks, and her presence is a symbolic nod to how the plight of the boys inspired her and scores of other African American women like her to stand up and march for justice.

"It was aw ful they were cond emned to die for a c they did n rime ot commit ." - Rosa Pa rks regard ing the Scottsboro boy s

From Marches to Marriage While Rosa was at a march to free the Scottsboro boys hosted by the NAACP in A LADY sits at a bench, waiting 1931, she met for a bus. She is about 40 and holds Raymond Parks, a cake box wrapped with a string…while she waites, she a barber who was a fundraiser for the National Committee lifts a corner of the cake box. She smells the cake. The to Save the Scottsboro Boys. They later married, and the cake brings back memories. She shuts her eyes. The couple continued to show their support for the boys as the world of the street, the noise of the traffic, the wait for the saga went on. bus, the disappointments of the day - all fade away. The memory continues as a distant MINSTREL MARCH is heard. - the opening stage directions from THE SCOTTSBORO BOYS

"People always say that I didn't give up my seat because I was tired, but that isn't true. I was not tired physically, or no more tired than I usually was at the end of a working day. I was not old, although some people have an image of me as being old then. I was 42. No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in." - Rosa Parks, as written in her autobiography

Her Own Civil Service In 1943, Alabama segregation law stated that the first four rows of buses were for whites only, and that the last ten rows were for blacks. Some drivers also forced African Americans to re-board the bus at the back after paying for their ticket in front. One day, Parks refused to do this although the driver threatened to call the police. She was arrested, and her arrest sparked a boycott of buses and a challenge of the segregation law. The law was overturned by the Supreme Court in 1956 for being unconstitutional, making Parks stand a history-changing moment for civil rights.



Why THE SCOTTSBORO BOYS? In some ways, things have changed since the boys’ struggle. In other ways, this piece of history can help us see what hasn’t changed, so we can make that change now.

Thank You, DNA

By 2005, 14 inmates who were on death row were released and their name cleared – all thanks to DNA. Congress helped to encourage post-trial DNA testing by passing a law in 2004 that not only made it legal, but provided funding for states to do so. Even in cases where an inmate ran out of appeals, over half of the states in the U.S. will allow post-trial DNA testing to prove innocence. Since then, organizations like the Still Black and White In 2009, calculations Pennsylvania Innocence Project have come forward to make sure from census statistics that anyone wrongfully jailed has a chance to be free. showed that while the number of arrests for Trial By News white citizens was When the Scottsboro boys were arrested, newspapers exploded comparable with the with headlines that could sway public opinion. Today, when an number of arrests for black citizens, the number of individual is arrested the story is not only reported as straight whites versus blacks who were jailed painted a different news, but there are shows on television and blogs and websites picture. Though white citizens made up 66% of the on the internet which center around opinion, speculation and population in America in 2009, they only made up 34% debate. Because a court cannot control the content of what TV, of the prison population. Black citizens made up only the internet and the papers choose to show the public – including 13% of the population in 2009, but accounted for 40% whether or not that content is accurate or impartial - when jurors of the prison population – a higher percentage than any are selected they are asked not to use those sources, and must other race. sometimes sign an oath that they will not look up anything to Stereotypes on the Big Screen do with the defendant or While the practice of blackface is shunned and minstrel shows are gone, the case on stereotyping still exists in Hollywood. the web. Many of the roles offered to black actors feature characters that let their tempers and violent tendencies get the "People best of them, who are criminals, or who are buffoon-like are on death row sidekicks to a lead actor of another race (think of the movies sometimes as long with Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan, for example). In one as 15 or 20 years, so there are Hollywood stereotype, dubbed The Magic Negro, a simple and still quite a few people who were humble black character lends their literal magic or homespun convicted at times when DNA testing wasn't prevalent.” wisdom to help a character of another race succeed while they -Richard Dieter, President of the Death Penalty themselves don’t seem to have any life or goals of their own. Information Center


To learn more about our programming in schools and at the theater... Check us out on the web: e-mail us: call our Education Department: 215-985-1400 x 111

2011-12 Drama Contact Corporate Sponsors: Philadelphia Theatre Company gratefully acknowledges the following for their underwriting support of Drama Contact:

The Albert M. Greenfield Foundation The ARAMARK Charitable Fund at the Vanguard Charitable Endowment Program Bank of America Charitable Foundation, Inc. Beatrice Fox Auerbach Foundation Fund at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving Christian R. & Mary F. Lindback Foundation Connelly Foundation Fund for Children of the Philadelphia Foundation The Hamilton Family Foundation

Lincoln Financial Foundation Louis N. Cassett Foundation Rosenlund Family Foundation Target TD Bank, through the TD Charitable Foundation Verizon, Inc. The Victory Foundation Virginia & Harvey Kimmel Arts-Education Fund Wells Fargo Foundation Zeldin Family Foundation

OUT 10 OF 12

An Actors’ Union Term

1. The two most grueling days of rehearsal. The actors rehearse for 10 hours each day with 2 hours of breaktime. 10 hrs + 2 hrs = 10 out of 12! 2. The two most rewarding days of rehearsal. Without these two technical rehearsals, the show wouldn’t go on! 3. This booklet. “10 out of 12” is your rehearsal to play the part of an audience member

“10 out of 12” is a publication of Philadelphia Theatre Company’s Education Department. Each issue explores themes, ideas and questions related to a PTC production. It is designed to enrich the experience of our audiences and support the mission of our Drama Contact education programming. Produced by mindy a. early, Rashanda Freeman and Maureen Sweeney

No part of this study guide may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form, by any means, including mechanical, electronic, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of the authors and Philadelphia Theatre Company. c2011

Study Guide | The Scottsboro Boys  

Philadelphia Theatre Company 2012 The Scottsboro Boys music and lyrics by John Kander and Fred Ebb, book by David Thompson Student Study Gui...

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you