Freedom Riders to Free the Scott Sisters
268 Bush Street, Suite 3602
San Francisco, CA 94104
(210) 200-8879 chatrabbi -@- aol.com
October 26, 2010
Hon. Haley Barbour
Governor of Mississippi
300 East Capitol Street
Jackson, MS 39201-34957
Shannon Warnock, Chairman
State of Mississippi Parole Board
660 North Street, Suite 100A
Jackson, MS 39202-3141
Re: Parole or Commutation of Sentences for Jamie and Gladys Scott
Dear Messers. Barbour and Warnock:
You have probably read or otherwise learned about columnist Bob Herbert’s piece in the New York Times (October 12, 2010) regarding two black sisters named Jamie and Gladys Scott who have been languishing in the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility for 18 years, allegedly for helping three younger children steal $11.00. Incredibly, beyond the comprehension of any but the most cynical criminal law practitioner, each sister received two lifetime sentences for these offenses. And now Jamie Scott is suffering from a serious kidney disease.
Fifty years ago, 436 idealistic young Americans “sat in” at segregated bus stations and railroad terminals, where blacks and whites were prevented from using the same restaurants, restrooms, drinking fountains, etc. Nearly three-quarters of us were arrested in Mississippi for violating “Jim Crow” laws, and were imprisoned in Parchman for up to 39 days. The U.S. Supreme Court reversed our convictions after the Interstate Commerce Commission barred segregation in interstate transportation facilities.
On behalf of all Freedom Riders, who did time during the summer and fall of 1961, we are writing you to ask for a modicum of justice and compassion for the Scott Sisters.
We who did time at Parchman have a special reason to empathize with the suffering of the Scott Sisters. You can also see by the other organizations and friends of justice who have signed this petition, that many of our sisters and brothers share our indignation at this egregious act of criminal justice malpractice.
As we plan to celebrate our 50th Freedom Rider reunion next May in Jackson, we respectfully ask you to commute the Scott Sisters’ sentence or pardon them well before then. We hope to see that, because of your justice and compassion, these two women are no longer imprisoned in the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility.
In the words of the Prophet, Isaiah 42:7, we call upon you to "bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.”
Steven McNichols, arrested August 11, 1961, lawcenter -@- compuserve.com, (650) 689-5682
Rabbi Philip M. Posner, arrested July 30, 1961, chatrabbi -@- aol.com, (210) 200-8879
Charles Person, Atlanta, GA, on the first bus May 14, 1961, beaten in Anniston and Birmingham.
Catherine Burks-Brooks, Birmingham, AL, arrested May 21, 1961 and May 28, 1961
George Blevins, Nederland, CO, arrested June 25, 1961
Lew Zuchman, NY, NY, arrested July 16, 1961
Candida (Lall) Pugh, Chicago, IL, arrested July 23, 1961.
Margaret Oakley, San Francisco, CA, arrested July 23, 1961
Bob Singleton, Los Angeles, CA, arrested July 30, 1961
Joseph Stevenson, Astoria, OR, arrested August 9, 1961 (Houston)
Ellen Kleiman (Broms), Sacramento, CA, arrested August 11, 1961 (Houston)
Patricia Kovner, Laytonville. CA, arrested August 11, 1961 (Houston)
Beverley Radcliffe Mill, Pitt Meadows, Canada, arrested August 11, 1961 (Houston)
Steven Sanfield, Nevada City, CA, August 11, 1961, (Houston)
Gilbert S. Avery III, Eugene, OR, arrested September 13, 1961
Friends of Justice
Elizabeth Adair, Glendale, CA
Alan Bensman, Minnetanka, MN
Rabbi Hillel Cohn, San Bernardino, CA
Eileen Collard, Minneapolis, MN
Gordon Fellman, Cambridge, MA
Jane Fellman, Glendale, CA
Rabbi Allen L. Freehling, Los Angeles, CA
John Gibson, Brookland, AR
Hunter Gray, Pocatello, ID
Scott Harrison, Nederland, CO
Roberta Hilleman, Ajijic, Jalisco, Mexico
Rev. Dr. Peter A. Petit, Allentown, PA
Rabbi John M. Sherwood, Oxnard, CA
Gwendolyn Simmons, Ph.D., Gainesville, FL
Paula Tavrow, Pasadena, CA
Greg Van Hook, Upper Black Eddy, PA
Susan Sklaroff Van Hook, Upper Black Eddy, PA
James A. Young
Jan Hillegas, Jackson, MS
Phyllis Cunningham, NY, NY
Ed Gresham, Ajijic, Mexico
Lin Gresham, Ajijic, Mexico
Bette Poole Marsh, Chicago, IL
Religious Action Center of the Union of Reform Judaism
Catholic Bishops of America
Organizations Calling For The Scott Sisters Release
Add your name to the lists above by sending your name and city-state to: chatrabbi -@- aol.com. (Delete the dashes to make a sendable address.)
Suggestions are welcome!