Carnegie Visual Arts Center

The “Scottsboro Boys”: Outside the Circle of Humanity

By • Feb 7th, 2013 • Category: Calendar, Current Exhibit

Like thousands of people did during the Depression, Haywood Patterson and nine other black youths hopped a train in Chattanooga, Tennessee, headed to Memphis to look for work. Shortly after crossing into Alabama, a fight broke out between white and black travelers. The train was stopped and the boys were accused of raping two white women hoboes also traveling on the train. All nine boys were arrested and taken to the jail in Scottsboro, Alabama. Two weeks later, they were tried in perfunctory proceedings with no effective legal representation and sentenced to death.

This exhibit picks up the story two years later with the retrial of Haywood Patterson in Decatur, Alabama – granted after the boys’ appeals went before the U.S. Supreme Court. The black and white photographs come from the estate of Fred Hiroshige, who worked as a photographer in Decatur for decades. Hiroshige kept 127 negatives of the Patterson trial photographs. In 1998, the Morgan County Commission acquired them for the permanent collection of the Morgan County Archives. Some of the images have been used in documentaries and publications, but many are on public display for the first time in this exhibition. The Carnegie Visual Arts Center is the premiere venue for this traveling exhibition.

Special Events at The Carnegie:

Lunch and Learn
February 15, 2013, Noon – 1 PM

Southern Literary Trail State Director Carol Puckett and Morgan County Archivist John Allison will talk about the history, trial and the photographer at the Carnegie Visual Arts Center. Lunch & Learn is free to the public but reservations are encourage because of limited seating. Attendees are to bring their own lunches. Call 256-341-0562 to make reservations.

Fri.@ 5
February 15, 2013, 5 – 7 PM
Opening reception for the exhibit, Fri. @ 5 is a monthly member event and available to the public. Suggested donation is $5 for members and $15 for member’s guests. Attendees should be 21 years of age or accompanied by a parent. RSVP at 256-341-0562 or

Keynote Address
Scottsboro: A Tragedy of the American South by Dr. Dan T. Carter for the William Bradford Huie Lecture Series
Thursday, February 21, 2013, 7 PM
Dan T. Carter’s book, Scottsboro, A Tragedy of the American South, is considered the definitive history of the Scottsboro trials. Originally published in 1970, it was published again in 2007 with a new introduction. The Education Foundation Professor at the University of South Carolina and a recipient of the Lillian Smith Award, Dr. Carter will deliver the keynote address for the Carnegie Visual Arts Center exhibition of Scottsboro trial photographs. A reception follows Dr. Carter’s lecture. 
Admission is free to the public but reservations are encourage because of limited seating. RSVP at 256-341-0562 or

Guided Tours
Docent guided groups and school field trips are available and welcome. Please call Danielle at 256-341-0562 to schedule a time.

The “Scottsboro Boys”: Outside the Circle of Humanity is presented by Morgan County Archives in Decatur, Alabama in partnership with the Southern Literary Trail and co-sponsored by the Alabama Humanities Foundation

Images © Morgan County Archives, Decatur, Alabama and used with permission.

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