Attica Prison riot


“The Attica Prison Rebellion, also known as the Attica Prison Massacre, Attica Uprising or Attica Prison Riot, was the bloodiest prison riot in United States history and is one of the best-known and most significant flashpoints of the prisoners’ rights movement. The revolt was based upon prisoners’ demands for better living conditions and political rights. On September 9, 1971, 1,281 out of the approximately 2,200 men incarcerated in the Attica Correctional Facility rioted and took control of the prison, taking 42 staff hostage. During the following four days of negotiations, authorities agreed to 28 of the prisoners’ demands, but would not agree to demands for complete amnesty from criminal prosecution for the prison takeover or for the removal of Attica’s superintendent. By the order of Governor Nelson Rockefeller, state police took back control of the prison. When the uprising was over, at least 43 people were dead, including ten correctional officers and civilian employees, and 33 inmates. Rockefeller, who refused to meet with the prisoners during the rebellion, stated that the prisoners ‘carried out the cold-blood killings they had threatened from the outset’, despite the fact that the deaths of only one of the officers and three of the inmates were attributed to the prisoners. New York Times writer Fred Ferretti said the rebellion concluded in ‘mass deaths that four days of taut negotiations had sought to avert’. As a result of the rebellion, a number of changes were made in the New York prison system to satisfy some of the prisoners’ demands, reduce tension in the system, and prevent such incidents in the future. Attica remains one the most famous prison riots to have occurred in the United States. … Inmates also requested a team of outside observers to assist with negotiations, many of whom officials were able to persuade to come to Attica. Observers included Tom Wicker, an editor of The New York Times, James Ingram of the Michigan Chronicle, State Senator John Dunne, State Representative Arthur Eve, civil rights lawyer William Kunstler, Clarence Jones, publisher of the Amsterdam News and former advisor to Martin Luther King, Jr., and others. Prisoners requested the presence of Minister Louis Farrakhan, national representative of the Nation of Islam, but he declined. Inmates also requested representatives from the Black Panther Party; Bobby Seale addressed the inmates briefly on September 11 but did not stay long and was seen by some as only inflaming tensions. The prisoners and team of observers continued to negotiate with Commissioner of Corrections Russell Oswald, who agreed to 28 of the inmates’ demands, but refused to agree to amnesty for the inmates involved in the uprising or to fire the Attica warden. …”
Wikipedia
NY Times: A Brutal Beating Wakes Attica’s Ghosts (Feb. 2015)
New Yorker: Learning from the Slaughter in Attica
Revisiting the Ghosts of Attica (Sep. 2016)
YouTube: What really happened during the Attica Prison Rebellion – Orisanmi Burton, Attica Prison Riot – William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe . POV on PBS
PBS: Unveiling the long-hidden story of the Attica prison riot (Video)


NY Times: A Graphic Novel Remembers Attica, YouTube: BIG BLACK: STAND AT ATTICA

About 1960s: Days of Rage

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