Scottsboro Boys Museum Founder and Executive Director dies at 61

Updated: Feb. 2, 2021 at 8:09 PM CST
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SCOTTSBORO, Ala. (WAFF) - On Tuesday, the Scottsboro community was mourning the loss of an area servant and leader.

Shelia Washington was the founder and Executive Director of the Scottsboro Boys Museum and Cultural Center.

For more than a decade, Washington helped shine a light on racial injustice at the Scottsboro Boys Museum.

Nine black teenage boys were falsely accused of raping two white women in the 1930′s.

As the founder, Washington spent countless hours of ensuring their stories would be told by living out the mission to inform the community of the history.

But on Friday, January 29th Washington passed away. Her family has not released the details regarding her death.

Washington was 61 years old.

“I think I’m still shocked; Shelia and I had become really good friends over the last year and a half. In fact, she came here and wasn’t really happy with us and we just sparked up a really good friendship and I was just really drawn to her passion and what she’s been working a decade to accomplish, and I really want to help her see that to the end,” said Sarah Stahl.

Stahl works for the Mountain Lakes Chamber of Commerce as the Director of Marketing and Tourism.

She worked alongside Washington for the anniversary of the museum and renovation project for the museum, that will be re-created into the courtroom where the Scottsboro Boys were put on trial.

“She fought hard to bring well deserved recognition to the Scottsboro Boys, and she was so articulated in a lot of her speaking and seemed like this grand fighter for a cause, and she was. But that’s not all she was, she cared deeply about people regardless of their color, background or sexual orientation. She wanted to make sure that she gave God the glory in anything that she did,” said Stahl.

Funeral information for Washington has not been released at this time. On Wednesday, January 30 board members of the Scottsboro Boys Museum will have a meeting to discuss future leadership.

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