Bryan Steven­son replies:

The New York Review of Books - - Letters -

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.

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