Chattanooga-Linked Scottsboro Boys Museum Seeks Renovations

SCOTTSBORO, Al. (WDEF) – The historical Scottsboro Boys Museum and Cultural Center on West Willow Street is hoping to make some major renovations.

Sheila Washington, founder, director, and tour guide of the museum, says that fundraising efforts for the renovations started in December, marking the museum’s 10th anniversary.

However, due to the start of the pandemic in early spring, initial fundraising was quickly stopped in it’s tracks.

The story of the Scottsboro boys has a local connection. Nine Black teenage boys, four of them from Chattanooga, were falsely accused of raping two white women traveling through Jackson County by train in 1931. All but two were convicted by an all white, all male jury and sentenced to prison.

Chattanooga historian Linda Moss Mines explains the local significance of the case.

“Most of these boys have family connections to the Chattanooga region and because of this story’s prominence not only from a social issue standpoint but also the legal ramifications of this case, it has always been a case that I think Chattanooga has been interested in and that we need to make certain Chattanoogans are aware of,” says Linda Moss Mines.

Founder Sheila Washington says that a GoFundMe account has been set up for donations to the museum, and that she’s excited to modernize the museum.

“So this whole church on the inside is gonna be changed into a modern facility as a museum and it took a while to get here. But when I thought about our tenth anniversary I didn’t think small I thought big. So we had that banquet to kick off the fundraising, and now we have a GoFundMe account and if you could give five, ten, fifteen dollars to our GoFundMe account – every dollar helps,” says Sheila Washington.

Washington says that the story of the Scottsboro Boys is of historical significance, and that she hopes the public will come to learn more about the case, once museum renovations are complete.

Categories: Featured, Jackson County, Local News

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