The Scott sisters (Gladys and Jamie) were serving doublelife sentences in a Mississippi state prison over the supposed role they played in an armed robbery that amounted to $11. At the end of 2010 their sentences were suspended by Governor Haley Barbour, provided that Jamie receive a kidney donation from her sister.
The sisters’ ordeal, as columnist Richard Prince wrote back in November,came tonationalattention thanks largely to a November 2008 piece in the Black Commentator by Nancy Lockhart, which then spread throughout black-oriented blogs andtalk radio, as well as the alternative media (Prince cites a piece by James Ridgewayof Mother Jones).
The story then began to get national attention, mostly thanks to African-American columnists like Bob Herbert and Leonard Pitts, and NPR‘s Michel Martin of Tell Me More. Prince joined us onCounterSpin (12/3/10) to tell the story behind this story.
Bob Herbert was back on the story on December 31, writing a strong column that ended: “The Scott sisters may go free, but they will never receive justice.”That they’re free at all is a testament to activism and the role of the independent media. And it should serve as a reminder that diversity inside the mainstream media certainly mattered; as Janine Jackson put it during that CounterSpin interview with Prince:
But it seems reasonable to consider whether this case would have even the so-called “big” media presence that it’s gained at this point, if it weren’t for Bob Herbert at the New York Times, who’s written about it;Leonard Pitts, syndicated columnist; Michel Martin at NPR. It has been not entirely, but it’s had a lot to do with highly placed black journalists that the story has kind of bubbled up.