The purpose of publicly showing the story of Scottsboro was to show that even though African Americans were no longer slaves and had won legal rights on paper such as voting and the promise of equal treatment under the law, in practice these victories were often undermined by corrupt and unfair practices. The white ideology, especially in southern states, denigrated blacks and scoffed at the notion that they were equal to whites and should be treated accordingly. Therefore when there appeared to be crimes perpetrated by blacks against whites there was great white public pressure on the judicial system to convict the blacks and subject them to the maximum penalty under the law
Although the Scottsboro 9 convicted African Americans escaped execution they were subject to long incarceration which had devastating effects both on those convicted and African Americans generally. They felt very fearful and hostile that they could be targeted for crimes they did not commit. And they had no assurance they would have fair and equal treatment under the law. While some cowered in fear, others became openly hostile including rioting to show their feelings of being oppressed and lost trust in a judicial system largely populated by whites and subject to white public pressure
I feel the Scottsboro type of tragedy is still possible today. It could be prevented only if African Americans have the sense that justice is really “color blind” and they are being treated fairly and equally under the law. This cannot happen by laws alone which can be circumvented. It requires a change in ideology and attitude especially on the part of southern whites. It requires their acknowledgement that slavery is morally wrong and whites being educated that aside from color there is very little difference between the races and that given similar opportunities blacks can achieve similar successes as whites. Blacks should be encouraged to participate in the justice system so that they have at least some control over outcomes. For example, I would suggest that they be required to be included in juries dealing with interracial crime charges. Therefore I feel that a Scottsboro type of tragedy can be best averted if blacks have a sense of meaningful participation in the judicial system rather than only being the victims of it.