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Price & Bates (Victoria & Ruby)
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Racist
    Residents of Huntsville, Alabama
    Accusers of The Scottsboro Boys
    Victoria Price (1911-1982)
    Ruby Bates (1915-1976)
    Claimed to have been raped by Nine black youths arrested in Scottsboro, Alabama (Mar. 25, 1931)
    Resulted in all nine being convicted, with all but one sentenced to death (April 9, 1931)
    Were later revealed to have fabricated the accusation to avoid being charged with vagrancy
    They lied about being raped to avoid what would have amounted to a slap on the wrist.
    The Boys' attorney, Samuel Leibowitz, suggested that their real motivation was the public disgrace of being arrested 'in the company of black men.'
    They were first picked up by the police wearing men's overalls hoboing a Southern freight train.
    By all accounts, Victoria originated the rape story and Ruby went along with it.
    At the time of the initial arrest, Victoria had been married three times and had an extensive history of trouble with the law.
    They had spent the night prior having sex with their boyfriends at a 'hobo jungle' near the tracks but vehemently denied it in court.
    They were the ultimate 'odd couple' (Price, a filthy-mouthed harpy from the wrong side of the tracks; Ruby a reserved lady aspiring to urban refinement).
    Their account of the 'rape' was not only too harrowing and graphic to be believed, but also changed rapidly throughout the trial's length.
    They were well aware that they stood to gain the sympathy of the all-white jury by making incendiary claims like 'one of them pulled out his private parts and says, when I put this in you and pull it out you will have a Negro baby.'
    Price was known for making wild exaggerations about the nature of their rape, but was wholly uncooperative when interrogated by the defense (almost always responding with 'I don't remember' or 'I can't say').
    While Bates later retracted her accusation, Price stood by her claims, even as evidence mounted that she was lying (resulting in four of the defendants - by this time jailed - having their cases appealed/retried).
    Price - who would be married a total of five times - continued to steadfastly defend her story even after fading into obscurity, saying in 1976 'I didn't lie in Scottsboro ... I've told the truth all the way through and I'm a' gonna go on fighting 'til my dying day or 'til justice is done.'
    Their self-interested recklessness resulted in nine innocent men being convicted, jailed, and - all but one - being sentenced to death (even if the sentences were later commuted).
    They indirectly inspired the character of Mayella Ewell, in Harper Lee's 'To Kill a Mockingbird.'
    Ruby had previously been arrested for the offense of hugging a black man in public.
    They grew up in the same poor neighborhood and struggled to even make a living working at the local cotton mill.
    Ruby was the daughter of a prostitute whose alcoholic father regularly beat her and the rest of the family.
    Price started work as a spinner at age 10, alongside her mother.
    When Price's mother suffered an debilitating injury, she not only became the family's sole wage earner, but was forced into prostitution to make ends meet.
    Ruby later testified that she had never been raped, during Haywood Patterson's trial, admitting that the semen on their clothes was from 'the night before.'
    Price reportedly resisted a bribe from for the International Labor Defense (IDLD) to change her testimony.
    Bates found her testimony didn't do much other than get her accused of being 'bought off' by the Northern Communists who famously infiltrated the case (she was all but driven out of town on a rail - eventually settling in Washington).
    Bates later wrote to the Boys in prison, and would make several public appearances alongside them after their release, even publicly apologizing at a rally in Baltimore.
    They resurfaced to file a slander suit - and re-testify to their accusations - against NBC for its broadcast of the television movie 'Judge Horton and the Scottsboro Boys,' but the judge dismissed the case (1976).
    Ruby died shortly after the lawsuit's dismissal (and within a week of her husband's death).

Credit: BoyWiththeGreenHair


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