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In 1939, nine African American teenagers were accused of gang-raping two white women while riding on a Southern Railroad freight train. The case, which was tried in Alabama and spanned nearly two decades, produced more trials, convictions, appeals, reversals, and retrials than any other case in American history. The teens, largely unacquainted with one another, came to be collectively known as the “Scottsboro Boys.” Through the course of the legal proceedings, it became evident that the women alleging the rape were lying, but despite evidence supporting this notion, many of the teens were convicted. It has been suggested that the women made the accusations in an attempt to deflect attention away from their promiscuous lifestyles; they engaged in adultery and often resorted to prostitution for ...

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