*After 16 years in prison for an $11.00 robbery, the Scott
sisters will soon be free. Their freedom came as a result of a
campaign (much of it over the Internet) of social and political
pressure that demonstrated the ongoing power of organized protest even
when the protests lack widespread coverage by the major media.
In 1994, Jamie and Gladys Scott were
convicted of luring two men into an ambush in central Mississippi
where three teenagers struck them and took their wallets. The
robbery netted a total of $11.00. The teens were convicted and
sentenced to three years or less in prison. But for reasons which
were never made publicly clear, the judge who sentenced the Scott
sisters gave them life in prison.
and human rights groups have long condemned the sentencing of the
Scotts citing it as an example of racist Southern justice. Advocacy
groups began a campaign over the Internet approximately two years
ago which brought national attention to the case without the aid of
major media coverage. The most recent public demonstration took
place in September in the state capitol of Jackson.
Hundreds of people marched through the city
demanding that Governor Haley Barbour (a Republican who may make a
run for the presidency in 2012) commute the sentences of
36-year-old Gladys and 38-year-old Jamie.
The campaign, aided by the organizational and political muscle of
the NAACP, worked. On Wednesday, Barbour suspended the sentences.
Barbour spokesperson Dan Turner said the suspensions were granted
because Jamie needed a kidney transplant and Gladys has agreed to
donate a kidney to her. Indeed, her release is contingent upon the
However, it could be a
month or more before the Scott sisters are actually freed. They
have requested to live with relatives in Florida and that approval
process could take up to 45 days.