Attica, Attica: The Story of the Legendary Prison Uprising

04FOREMAN-master768James Forman Jr. at the NY Times:

Attica. The name itself has long signified resistance to prison abuse and state violence. In the 1975 film “Dog Day Afternoon,” Al Pacino, playing a bank robber, leads a crowd confronting the police in a chant of “Attica, Attica.” The rapper Nas, in his classic “If I Ruled the World,” promises to “open every cell in Attica, send ’em to Africa.” And Attica posters were once commonplace in the homes of black nationalists. The one in my family’s apartment in the 1970s featured a grainy black-and-white picture of Attica’s protesting prisoners, underneath the words “We are not beasts.”

But memories of the 1971 uprising at Attica prison have grown hazy. I recently mentioned the word to a politically active Yale College student, who responded: “I know it’s a prison where something important happened. But I’m not sure of the details.”

Heather Ann Thompson, a professor of history at the University of Michigan, has the details. Thompson spent more than a decade poring over trial transcripts, issuing countless requests for hidden government documents, and interviewing dozens of survivors and witnesses.

more here.