Thursday, February 16, 2017

Scottsboro Boys Photo Exhibit -- Now Through March 3rd

The Samford University Library invites you to experience “Scottsboro Boys: Outside the Protective Circle of Humanity” -- a traveling exhibit chronicling what many consider to be the very beginning of the civil rights movement in the United States.  This exhibit comes to us courtesy of the Morgan County Archives and is on display on the second floor of the library in our Main Reading Room now through March 3rd.





The Scottsboro Boys were nine African-American men, ages thirteen to twenty-one, charged with the rape of two white women in March of 1931.  Their names were Willie Roberson, Olen Montgomery, Eugene Williams, Roy Wright, Haywood Patterson, Clarence Norris, Andy Wright, Ozie Powell and Charlie Weems. Within two weeks, an all-white jury found the men guilty and sentenced them to death.

The case made national news.  The Communist-backed International Labor Defense (ILD) took up the case and appealed to the Alabama Supreme Court. The ILD also organized protests across the country against the racist verdict.  Labor organizations around the nation rallied for a new trial.  The Alabama Supreme Court upheld the convictions, but in November 1932, the U.S. Supreme Court ordered a new trial.

The new trials began in March 1933. Samuel Liebowitz, an eminent criminal lawyer recruited by the ILD, defended the accused.  Judge James Edwin Horton oversaw the first trial which was that of Haywood Patterson.  In spite of lack of evidence and a victim recanting her story, the jury convicted Patterson to death.

The defense moved for a retrial and, believing the defendants innocent, Judge James Edwin Horton agreed to set aside the guilty verdict for Patterson. Horton ruled the rest of defendants could not get a fair trial at that time and postponed the rest of the trials.  This decision cost him his job when he ran for re-election.

The trials moved to another court and continued. This third set of trials was completed and again all men were sentenced to death. The U.S. Supreme Court reversed this set of convictions April 1, 1935, because African-Americans were excluded from the juries in Alabama at that time. This practice denied the defendants due process.

In 1936-1937, five of the defendants were again tried and found guilty. Willie Roberson, Olen Montgomery, Eugene Williams, and Roy Wright, who had already been in prison for six years, had their cases dismissed.  Haywood Patterson, Clarence Norris, Andy Wright, Ozie Powell and Charlie Weems were sentenced to long prison terms.

Patterson escaped in 1949 and fled to Michigan where the governor refused to extradite him.  He was convicted in an assault case there in 1951 and died in 1952.

Charlie Weems was paroled in 1943.  Andy Wright was paroled in New York State in 1950. Clarence Norris was pardoned in 1976 by Governor George Wallace.  Ozie Powell was paroled in 1946.

On November 21, 2013, the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles granted posthumous pardons to Weems, Wright and Patterson, the only Scottsboro Boys who had neither had their convictions overturned nor received a pardon.

Throwback Thursday -- 1962 Step Sing Winners

Step Sing 2017 is in the history books, and congratulations to this year's winners!

Step Sing has its roots on the old East Lake campus of then-Howard College, where it was held every semester as a sing-along on the steps of the Renfroe Hall dormitory starting in 1951.  It eventually became a competition, and in the 1960s costumes and props were added to the performances.

Speaking of the 1960s, here are the 1962 Step Sing winners with their trophies.


Image courtesy of the Samford University Library Special Collection.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Throwback Thursday -- Phi Kappa Pi performs in Step Sing 1974

Image courtesy of the Samford University Library Special Collection.

As the 2017 edition of Step Sing opens tonight, we thought we'd share this photograph of Phi Kappa Pi performing in Step Sing on November 16, 1974. The show as entitled, "My Special Angel." Phi Kappa Pi won the Fraternities Division of Step Sing that year.

Good luck -- or should we say, "break a leg!" -- to everyone involved in making the latest installment in this cherished Samford tradition happen!

Friday, February 3, 2017

Standardized Assessment of Information Literacy Skills (SAILS)


From now through the 20th, the University Library will once again be administering the Standardized Assessment of Information Literacy Skills (SAILS) to Samford undergraduate students. This will give us a detailed snapshot of our students’ information literacy skills and will help us to optimize our instructional efforts to meet areas of need.  The library has previously administered the SAILS survey in 2011 and 2014.

Students will be sent a link to the survey via their Bulldog Mail e-mail account.  Those who choose to participate will be asked to answer some questions about the various library and information resources they may use.  At the conclusion of the test, they will have the opportunity to enter our prize drawing. Prizes include a new iPad Mini 2 (32GB), two $50 Target gift cards and a $100 Amazon gift card.

This is an anonymous test; the researchers will not know the identity of the students, and the information we gather will be reported to others only in aggregate form, so no one will be able to identify the students or their individual responses. Each student is assigned a randomly generated identification number which may be used by Samford to confirm their participation in this assessment. This number is not associated with their names or other identifying information by Project SAILS and individual responses will not be shared with the university.


It is our hope that all our students who are contacted will allow their responses to the test to be used for this Samford-approved research project.  

If you want to know more about this research, please email Lauren Young, Instruction Coordinator here at the library. 

If you have questions about Samford University's rules for research, please contact Dr. Drew Hataway, Assistant Professor of Biological and Environmental Sciences and Chair of the University's Institutional Review Board.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Library Hours -- Spring Term 2017


Welcome back everyone!  It's great to see so many students back on campus today and we here at the library want to let you know we're ready to help you with your spring research needs.

Starting today, the library is operating under our regular hours:

  • Monday through Thursday -- 7:30am-midnight
  • Friday -- 7:30am-8:00pm
  • Saturday -- 10:00am-7:00pm
  • Sunday -- 1:00pm-midnight
You can find more information about the library's hours of operation on our website by clicking here.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Library Closed for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

The Samford University Library will be closed Monday, January 16th in celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Letter From the Birmingham Jail
Image courtesy of the Samford University Library Special Collection.

Above is an image of a copy of Dr. King's famous "Letter from the Birmingham Jail" that is currently housed in the University Library's Special Collection.  A larger sized image linked to a PDF version is part of a Special Collection Treasures article commemorating the letter's 50th anniversary.

The library will re-open at 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday, January 17th.