(Buffalo, N.Y.) – A SUNY Buffalo State professor is bringing attention to the forgotten story of the Scottsboro Boys in her exhibit “Nine American Boys.”
The Scottsboro Boys were nine African American boys who in 1931 were falsely arrested, tried and convicted for raping a white woman and a white girl on a train in Alabama all within 15 days.
Eight of the boys received the death penalty and the youngest, who was 13 at the time, received a life sentence. Although all of the Scottsboro Boys spent time in jail for the crime, none of them were executed.
The work of Alice Pennisi, chair of the Art Education Department, was on display in the Margaret E. Bacon Student Gallery.
Pennisi’s portraits depict the boys as if they were taking their graduation photos, in the hope that it will spark an important conversation about mass incarceration, and how it particularly affects young males of color.
The exhibit was originally displayed as part of the Anne Frank Project on Sept. 28 and 29, but stayed up until Oct. 14 due to strong audience reception.