The nine Scottsboro Boys were falsely charged and convicted of rape in 1931. Their case became a symbol of the racial injustice African Americans endured. (Source: RNN/WAFF/Scottsboro Boys Museum)
MONTGOMERY, AL (RNN/AP) – Alabama's parole board approved the posthumous pardon of three of the Scottsboro Boys on Thursday, more than 80 years after their arrest.
In 1931, nine African American teens were falsely accused and convicted of raping two white women on a freight train. An all-white jury convicted the young men.
The case led to the Supreme Court's decision that criminal defendants are entitled to effective council and it ended the exclusion of blacks from serving on juries.
Five of the Scottsboro Boys had their charges dropped in 1937 after one of the alleged victims recanted her story. Another man received a pardon from Gov. George Wallace in 1976.
Alabama State Sen. Arthur Orr sponsored Act 2013-081, a bill that would allow the parole board to issue posthumous pardons for convictions that occurred at least 75 years earlier and involved racial discrimination.
Shelia Washington, founder of the Scottsboro Boys Museum, said that the pardons give a new, not guilty, ending to history books.
The pardons certificates will be displayed at the museum.
"We will tell the truth about the story of the Scottsboro Boys," Washington said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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