The year is 1931. The location is Scottsboro, Alabama. A couple of white females sneak onto a freight train. A few minutes later, twelve male African-Americans enter the same car. What happens next is hard to tell, it depends on who you ask. Some say that indeed a tremendous crime was committed on that bright and sunny day, while others just say the girls did it specifically to get publicity.
It all started on March 24, 1931. Two white females, twenty-four-year-old Victoria Price and seventeen-year-old, Ruby Bates. They were two young women who after hard, low-pay work at the mills in Huntsville, turned to prostitution and drunkenness. They, according to Victoria Price, the leader of the two, were on their way to Chattanooga in Tennessee to visit for the night an elderly woman named Miss Calie Brochie. According to the record, Victoria did not know specifically where Miss Brochie lived, but had asked a young boy, who told her it was the fourth house on the block at Seventh Street. There, it is said, by Victoria, that they spent the night to find work there in the city the next day. When they didn t find work, they went to the train station there in Chattanooga and sneaked onto another freight train moving in the direction of Huntsville.
As the story continues, Victoria and Ruby were said to be there for only a few minutes, accomppied with seven white males, one identified as Orvil Gilley. When all of a sudden, twelve male African-Americans entered onto the same car. Victoria identified Charlie Weems, the oldest of the twelve, as the leader. It is said, by Victoria, that he entered in carrying a pistol. The next thing they knew, Charlie Weems and the other African-Americans forced six of the seven white males of the train. Leaving twenty-one-year-old Orvil Gilley on the train, because he was too scared to jump from the train. Victoria claimed that six of the twelve on board raped her. She said that three of them jumped off the train in the city of Stevenson. Soon afterward, the police were notified of the possible crime, and the train was stopped at Paint Rock, Alabama. The eight male African-Americans left were arrested, and from there, the story never ends.
Backgrounds of Victoria Price and Ruby Bates
First, let us look at seventeen-year-old, Ruby Bates. She was a beautiful young lady that was mostly quiet. She lived in an area where many African-Americans lived. She and her family were the only whites that inhabited there. She played with all the kids, which were all African-American. Racism was not a part of her life, in fact, she didn t mind being around them. She worked at the Margaret Mill in Huntsville, Alabama; where she met Victoria. Ruby s mother, Ms. Emma Bates, was mostly clean and neat. She raised Ruby to be a very nice young woman. Their relationship was close up until Ruby met Victoria Price.
Speaking of Victoria, let us take a close examination of her. She was a twenty-four-year-old young woman that was also pretty. Though, her reputation was very bad. She was very talkative and humorous. She was married once and then divorced because the man she was with was always drunk, and all they did was have sex. She lived in an area inhabited by whites. So, she only grew up with whites and knew nothing about any other individual that was any other color. She was known as a liar and a drunk, as well as a prostitute. Victoria reported the only reason she turned to prostitution was because of the low pay and little hours she received working at the Margaret Mill. After a long argument with her mother, they finally both agreed that Victoria had worked there for ten years. Her mother, Miss Price, was racist. She was divorced and single. She had an attitude toward the interviewer, Miss Hollace Pansdell, when talking to her. She was not as clean as Ms. Emma Bates was and not as pretty. A nearby neighbor, Ms. Russell said that Victoria was a bad one and that she was acting like her mother was when she was her age. The Ruby family was a everyday good family. On the other side, the Price Family, broken with divorce and suffering, was a bad one.
Victoria Price and Ruby Bates met each other at the Margaret Mill in Huntsville, Alabama. They both worked about two days a week but each day working long hours and receiving low pay. Before Ruby had met Victoria, she was well mannered. But somehow, Victoria got real close to changing Ruby for the worse. You see, Victoria turned to prostitution when the money wasn t rolling in. She would carrying Ruby into the situation and that s how Ruby got involved. Ruby didn t have many friends and she wanted to feel involved. So, she hung out with Victoria. Victoria and Ruby would hang around buildings and barns drinking to drunkenness and having intercourse with many men for, of course, money. Victoria, never really had a good reputation. Since they lived in a small town, word got around quickly about anything and everything. So, everyone knew about all that was going on.
Out of all the trials taken in this big world of ours, you would think that the evidence would be the most important factor in deciding if someone is guilty of a crime or innocent. But in this trial, evidence is the smallest factor. Only one thing stood stronger than the evidence, and that was racism.
You might question why I would believe that this trial was not fair. Well, I m glad if you ask me because I have the answer for you. The biggest piece of evidence was the examination of Victoria Price and Ruby Bates. Immediately following the possible rape, they were examined by Dr. R.R. Bridges. Dr. Bridges was not alone, though. He was closely examined himself, by the defense. Under his examination, he did indeed find sperm in both Victoria and Ruby. Yet, it was not alive. He said that it was dead and old. He also said that if there was any rape that occurred, then the sperm would still be alive. Meaning, therefore, that indeed a rape was not committed. It s only obvious, right? Yeah.
Dr. Bridges also examined them to see if there were any scratches or bruises visible that would show signs of refusal. He did find