Paired Texts > The Scottsboro Boys
We've identified these texts as great options for text pairings based on similar themes, literary devices, topic, or writing style. Supplement your lesson with one or more of these options and challenge students to compare and contrast the texts. To assign a paired text, click on the text to go to its page and click the "Assign Text" button there.
On the evening of February 26, 2012, Trayvon Martin, a 17-year old African American boy from Florida, was fatally shot by a George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer. Zimmerman was charged with second-degree murder and was found "not guilty" by a jury in July of 2013. These are the remarks of President Barack Obama after the trial.Pair “President Obama’s Remarks on Trayvon Martin Ruling” with “The Scottsboro Boys” and ask students to compare the events and trial that followed Martin’s shooting with the Scottsboro Boys. How does race continue to be a factor in the criminal justice system? How much has this changed since the Scottsboro Boys? What would students like to see change in the future?
This informational text explains how the murder of Emmett Till helped spark the Civil Rights Movement.Pair “Emmett Till” with “The Scottsboro Boys” and ask students to compare how the justice system is depicted in the South in both texts. How did the skewed legal system of the time benefit Emmett Till’s murderers just as much as it condemned the Scottsboro Boys? How did these two events impact the Civil Rights Movement?
This interview explores a landmark Supreme Court decision and the state of juvenile justice today.Pair “Gault Case Changed Juvenile Law” with “The Scottsboro Boys” and ask students to analyze the experiences of children in the juvenile court system. What is the role of the children in these cases? How much power do they have over their cases?
In the informational text "Plessy v. Ferguson," Jessica McBirney discusses how the Plessy v. Ferguson decision impacted racial segregation in the United States.Pair “The Scottsboro Boys” with “Plessy v. Ferguson” to provide students with additional information about legal processes in the Jim Crow South. Ask students to discuss how both court cases contributed to change in America. How do both texts show how the justice system treated African Americans unfairly?
In this text, students learn how the jury system developed, particularly in England.Pair “The Scottsboro Boys” with “Juries: A History” and ask students to discuss whether or not juries are free from corruption. What do students think a “jury of peers” should entail? How do students think the judge in the Bushell Case would have responded to the jury in Hayward Patterson’s 1933 trial? The Magna Carta established a jury of peers and Bushell’s Case established protections for the jury, but do students think there is a need to protect defendants from the jury? Why or why not?