Sunday, September 13, 2009

In Memory: Attica

Today is Sunday, 13 September 2009.

On this date in 1971, the Attica Prison Rebellion was crushed in a massive assault by New York State Police, corrections officers, and civilian vigilantes (former corrections officers).

The Rebellion stemmed from the extremely inhumane conditions at the prison, ranging from indignities such as a ration of one (1) roll of toilet paper per inmate per month, to regular beatings (with batons many corrections officers nick-named “Nigger Sticks”), and torture.

Attica then held 2,225 inmates, of whom 54% were Black, and 9% were Puerto Rican. Of 383 correctional officers, 383 were white.

Of 37 killed in the assault, twenty-four were inmates murdered by indiscriminate police gunfire, nine were hostages murdered by indiscriminant police gunfire, and four were inmates murdered by other inmates.

The attack was ordered by Governor Nelson Rockefeller, who had refused to negotiate in good faith with the inmates. One can only conclude that Rockefeller, the son of a Gilded Age economic gangster, saw the Rebellion as an insult to himself, who fancied himself a patrician and a “prince of the blood”, an insult which could be assuaged only by the blood of the rebels.

Most of the surviving inmates were subjected to several days of indiscriminate beatings and torture.


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