Black Is: The Week In Photos

The week in photos; photos and headlines for the week of Feb 7th -Feb 14th 2011.

Tuskegee Airman Leo Gray signs autographs for students this morning at Fantasy of Flight in Polk City.

Tuskegee Airman Leo Gray signs autographs for students and shares stories of overcoming barriers, at Fantasy of Flight in Polk City, Florida.

Newly created Pac-12 conference and 2pac fan battle for domain rights in web squatter case.

Green Bay Packers fans rejoice in 9 degree temperatures at the Super Bowl XLV Championship celebration at Lambeau Field.

Egyptians celebrate the news of President Hosni Mubarak resignation.

2,012 students compete in a game of dodge ball at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, and set a Guinness World Record.

Former first lady Nancy Reagan attends a birthday celebration held in honor of Ronald Reagan. He would have been 100 years old on Feb 6th.

Jerry Sloan, Phil Johnson

Jerry Sloan(left) resigns as head coach of the NBA Utah Jazz after 23 season.

AOL will be adding Huffington Post co-founder Arianna Huffington to its arsenal.

AOL acquires Huffington Post for $315 million, Arianna Huffington to become media president.

Janet Jackson begins her world tour in Jakarta, Indonesia

Image: Abandoned buildings in New Orleans, La.

an estimated 3,000 homeless find refuge in the vacant and abandoned homes and buildings in New Orleans, that were damaged by hurricane Katrina.

Mississippi  proposes to issue specialty license plates honoring Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, who was an early leader of the Ku Klux Klan.

AFRO-American Newspaper has joined forces with Google to digitize its archives, making them available to anyone.

Garcelle Beauvais, Eva Amurri and Taraji P. Henson backstage at Heart Truth’s Red Dress Collection, which raises awareness for heart disease in women, during Fashion Week.

Nicki Minaj, Rihanna, Willow Smith, and Lady GaGa were some of the artist in attendance for the 53rd annual Grammy Awards.

Black Sisters Released from Prison, but not Pardoned

Two Mississippi sisters who had been imprisoned for 16 years were released  on the condition that the younger sibling donate a kidney to her sister, whose organs are failing.

The sisters, Jamie and Gladys Scott, walked out of the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility in Pearl just and were greeted by their mother, their children and throngs of reporters. The case of the Scott sisters attracted widespread attention after Gov. Haley Barbour suspended their life sentences last month with the stipulation that Gladys, 36, give one of her kidneys to Jamie, 38.

At a news conference in Jackson, Miss., the sisters wore new clothes — Jamie had on pink, Gladys wore purple — and spoke about how surprised and gratified they were to go suddenly from the prospect of spending the rest of their lives in prison to being released into a world that had changed radically since 1994, when they were sentenced for their roles in a robbery.

“I never thought this day would ever come, when I’d be on the outside of the walls,” said Jamie Scott, who wiped away tears with a handkerchief. “Now I’m on the outside, and I can get some decent medical treatment. I am so very grateful for this day. ”

The kidney donation was the sisters’ idea, and was supported by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and other civil rights organizations. But the unusual nature of the arrangement has been criticized by some medical ethicists.

Legal experts said suspending a prison sentence contingent on an organ donation was highly unusual and might be unprecedented.

Jamie Scott requires dialysis treatment at least three times a week, and her health has been failing for the last few months.

The women plan to live in Pensacola, Fla., with their mother and their children. Jamie Scott has three children; Gladys Scott has two.

The Scotts were arrested on Christmas Eve 1993, when Jamie was 21 and Gladys 19, and they were convicted the following year on charges that they led two men into an ambush, during which the men were robbed of about $11 at gunpoint, according to the trial transcript. The precise amount of money involved in the holdup was never established. No one was injured during the crime.

Three boys and a young man, ages 14 to 18 at the time, were also convicted; they served their sentences and were released from custody years ago, Mississippi officials said. The sisters denied playing any role in the crime but were given such heavy sentences because the judge believed they had organized the robbery.

After years of unsuccessful efforts by their family and friends to get the sisters released because of inconsistencies in testimony during the trial, Jamie Scott’s kidney failure in January 2010 led to a renewed grass-roots campaign to free them. The effort on behalf of the sisters, who are black, was first taken up by African-American-themed Internet sites, and more recently by the N.A.A.C.P. and by black politicians in Mississippi.

After considering the matter for several months, Governor Barbour announced in late December that he would not pardon the sisters, but would indefinitely suspend their sentences.

He said he had acted in part out of concern over Jamie Scott’s health, but also to relieve the state of the cost of her dialysis treatment, which is approximately $200,000 a year.

“The Mississippi Department of Corrections believes the sisters no longer pose a threat to society,” Mr. Barbour said in a Dec. 29 statement. “Their incarceration is no longer necessary for public safety or rehabilitation, and Jamie Scott’s medical condition creates a substantial cost to the State of Mississippi.”

Dr. Arthur Caplan, director of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania, said Mr. Barbour’s decision to free the women on the basis of the kidney donation had crossed a moral line.

“Either out of ignorance or out of indifference, he shifted what had been a gift into compensation,” Dr. Caplan said. “He turned it into a business contract.”

The sisters will be on parole for the rest of their lives, their lawyers said.

Many questions remain unanswered, including who will pay for the kidney transplant. The sisters’ supporters say that the family cannot afford the procedure and that it is unclear whether they will qualify for Medicaid.

Further, the sisters have not been tested to see if their blood type and immune systems are sufficiently close for a transplant operation. There are also concerns that after having spent so many years in prison that neither sister is healthy enough to undergo the procedure.

Source: NYT