Radio Times

The Attica uprising revisited

September 12, 2016

Guests: Heather Ann Thompson, Malcolm Bell

The Attica Correctional Facility uprising in western New York in 1971 is the bloodiest prison riot in our nation’s history.  The inmates, who had lived in deplorable conditions, took control of the prison and held a number of guards hostage. This started a four-day standoff that ended violently when Governor Nelson Rockefeller sent in heavily armed state troopers to take back Attica.  After 2000 rounds of ammunition were fired, twenty-nine inmates and 10 guards were killed and over a hundred people were seriously injured.  Historian HEATHER ANN THOMPSON tells the story of the Attica uprising and the state’s effort to cover-up their actions in a revealing new book Blood in the Water.  She talks to Marty about the Attica rebellion and how it shaped civil rights and mass incarceration.  We’ll also hear from MALCOLM BELL, who was the chief special assistant to the Attica special prosecutor and first blew the whistle on the state’s investigations.  He’s the author of The Attica Turkey Shoot.

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