Bryan Stevenson replies:
James Goodman is correct about the International Labor Defense. He’s the author of a terrific book on Scottsboro, Stones of Scottsboro (1994), and it was the ILD that provided legal assistance to the Scottsboro teens, primarily by getting to the families of the young men before the NAACP. It’s also true that the Communist Party did the most effective organizing around the case in the years immediately following the trial. However, it was the NAACP that ultimately won support in the black community and framed what happened in Scottsboro as part of a broader effort at confronting Jim Crow and racial violence against black people. By the end of World War II, the ILD had lost influence and it was the NAACP, especially the work of Walter White, that shaped the narrative about the legacy of lynching and its impact that would fuel the activism of the civil rights movement and the efforts of the Legal Defense Fund in particular.