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Wilton Lecture Examines 1930s Race Relations, Politics

James Goodman will present “Stories of Scottsboro” Feb. 21 at the Wilton Historical Society.
James Goodman will present “Stories of Scottsboro” Feb. 21 at the Wilton Historical Society. Photo Credit: Wilton Library

WILTON, Conn. – The Wilton Historical Society is presenting “Stories of Scottsboro” with James Goodman  from 4-5:30 p.m. Sunday.

In the second lecture of the collaboration between the Wilton Library and the Wilton Historical Society focusing on World War I and its aftermath, Goodman will discuss the controversial series of events surrounding the Scottsboro Boys, the state of race relations and the influence of the Communist/Socialist parties in that time in the United State.

On March 25, 1931, some black and white boys got into a fight on a freight train in Alabama. According to Goodman, “Along with hundreds of thousands of other Americans, they had taken to the rails in search of a shorter breadline, a warmer place to sleep, and, if they got lucky, a few days' work.”

The arrests and convictions of the black boys on the charge of rape, their subsequent long imprisonments on death row and the appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court is a disturbing tale about the economic, political and social divisions of this period of U.S history, with repercussions that extend to the present.

Goodman is a professor of history and creative writing at Rutgers University in Newark, N.J. He writes on the nonfiction side between history and fiction. He is the author of several short stories, essays, book reviews and three books, “Stories of Scottsboro,” “Blackout” and “But Where is the Lamb?”

The remaining lectures, which also are from 4-5:30 p.m. will be:

  • Sunday, March 13: "Jazz Era/World War I" with Bob Riccio at the Wilton Library.
  • Sunday, March 20: "World War I and the Future of America" with Matthew Warshauer at the Wilton Historical Society.

Receptions follow the talks. Admission is free but donations are welcome, and registration by clicking here for each lecture is required. Click here for more information or call 203-762-3950.

The Wilton Historical Society is at 224 Danbury Road, Wilton.

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