What Set the Stage for Rebellion and Violence at AtticaHistorians in the News
tags: prisons, Mass Incarceration, Attica Riot
Storming the Gates: Fifty Years After the Attica Prison Uprising
Fifty years ago this week, September 9-13, 1971, incarcerated men at the Attica Correctional Facility in upstate New York took control of the state prison to demand humane treatment and better living. The revolt captured the nation’s attention, with journalists, historians and political analysts calling it a pivotal moment in the national prisoners’ rights movement.
Now, after the murder of George Floyd inspired renewed protests across the country demanding accountability around law enforcement, corrections and criminal justice, the WNYC Race and Justice Unit sought to reexamine the 50th anniversary of the Attica uprising, what has changed in New York State’s prison system to improve the quality of life for inmates, and what remains unaddressed half a century later.
PART ONE: Setting the Stage
An event that started as a prisoner uprising over living conditions morphed into an organized rebellion that included taking prison guards hostage and negotiating with state and federal officials over a list of 27 demands. It ended in the storming of the facility and the deaths of 43 people — incarcerated men and corrections officers.
We begin our series with The Witnesses: three men who were incarcerated at Attica 50 years ago this week, when all hell broke loose.
Tyrone Larkins, Alhajji Sharif and Akil Shaquan spoke with WNYC Race and Justice reporter Joseph Gedeon.
While these men have the lived experience of what happened inside Attica, Professor Heather Ann Thompson, a historian at the University of Michigan, has been able to assess the large political forces at play that pushed tensions inside and outside the prison over the edge in her book, Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy. Thompson spoke with series producer Emily Lang.
comments powered by Disqus
- The Debt Ceiling Law is now a Tool of Partisan Political Power; Abolish It
- Amitai Etzioni, Theorist of Communitarianism, Dies at 94
- Kagan, Sotomayor Join SCOTUS Cons in Sticking it to Unions
- New Evidence: Rehnquist Pretty Much OK with Plessy v. Ferguson
- Ohio Unions Link Academic Freedom and the Freedom to Strike
- First Round of Obama Administration Oral Histories Focus on Political Fault Lines and Policy Tradeoffs
- The Tulsa Race Massacre was an Attack on Black People; Rebuilding Policies were an Attack on Black Wealth
- British Universities are Researching Ties to Slavery. Conservative Alumni Say "Enough"
- Martha Hodes Reconstructs Her Memory of a 1970 Hijacking
- Jeremi Suri: Texas Higher Ed Conflict "Doesn't Have to Be This Way"
- New transcript of Ayn Rand at West Point in 1974 shows she claimed “savage" Indians had no right to live here just because they were born here
- The Mexican War Suggests Ukraine May End Up Conceding Crimea. World War I Suggests the Price May Be Tragic if it Doesn't
- The Vietnam War Crimes You Never Heard Of