Scottsboro Boys; Scottsboro; Ellen Feldman; the black beast rapist myth; the southern rape complex; legal lynchings


In the infamous Scottsboro case (Alabama, 1931), nine black youths were falsely accused of raping two low-class white girls that happened to be sexually promiscuous with both white and black males. The Scottsboro Boys were innocent victims of the southern rape complex and the automatic legal lynching of any black male accused of raping a white woman. The main character of Ellen Feldman’s novel Scottsboro (2008) is based largely on two progressive northern reporters, Mary Heaton Vorse and Hollace Ransdall, both of whom looked into the case. She visits Alabama and learns about the complex racial, class, and gender relations there, as well as her own bigotry and class-privilege. Like Ransdall and Vorse, she reports on an event in which two poor victims of capitalist oppression are elevated from the level of “white trash” to be made representatives of “defiled” white womanhood, while eight of the nine black youths, stereotyped as hypersexualized and inherently criminal, are given death sentences because of the tyranny of values which mean nothing in the life of the girls themselves.


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How to Cite

González Groba, C. “‘THE FORCES THAT CAME TOGETHER TO INFLICT THAT PAIN’: CLASS, RACE, AND SEXUALITY IN ELLEN FELDMAN’S SCOTTSBORO”. Revista De Estudios Norteamericanos, vol. 26, June 2022, doi:10.12795/REN.2022.i26.03.



Received 2021-10-18
Accepted 2022-04-04
Published 2022-06-01
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