Ruby Bates joined the protests to "Free the Scottsboro Boys" after her dramatic turnabout at the second trial of Heywood Patterson. On April 7, 1933, she testified in Decatur, Alabama, that she had not been attacked by Patterson or any of the defendants -- nor had Victoria Price been attacked (see transcript of testimony in Document 7). Price, however, stood by her earlier accusations. Two days later, the jury convicted Patterson again, despite Bates's testimony.
The International Labor Defense and the Communist Party embraced Bates as a hero of the protest movement. Bates participated in protest meetings and marches on Washington in 1933 and 1934. As at the meeting reported here, she often appeared with Lester Carter, who traveled with Ruby and Victoria Price on the ill-fated train from Chattanooga. He had not been called to testify in the first trials, even though he witnessed whatever took place in the open freight car with Price and Bates. He testified for the defense in the 1933 trial of Heywood Patterson and became a "star witness" when he spoke at mass protest rallies.
RUBY BATES TELLS STORY
She and Boy Companion Speak at
Scottsboro Protest Here
Ruby Bates, surprise defense witness at the Decatur (Ala.) trial of Heywood Patterson, and Lester Carter, the white boy with her on the Scottsboro train, who also testified for the defense, made their first public appearance last night at a protest meeting attended by more than 5,000 at the St. Nicholas Arena, Sixty-sixth Street and Columbus Avenue.
Samuel Leibowitz and George W. Chamlee, defense counsel, also spoke at the meeting, which was arranged by the National Scottsboro Action Committee as a prelude to the protest "march" to Washington which is scheduled to start from Union Square at 10 O'clock this morning.
Both the Bates girl and Carter declared the "Scottsboro boys are innocent." The girl, who testified at the first trial that she was attacked by the Negroes, said she told a false story "because I was excited by the ruling class of the South."
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