Attica Prison Revolt
Lucien X. Lombardo
From September 9 to September 13,1971, prisoners in New York State's Attica Correctional Facility held control of this maximum-security prison. Forty-three people died during that time; state police and correctional officers killed 29 prisoners and 10 correctional staff members and wounded 80 people during the quarter of an hour that it took for officials to retake the prison. The McKay Commission, which provided the official report on the events at Attica, called it the “bloodiest one day encounter between Americans since the Civil War.” When these events occurred, nearly 60% of Attica's population was Black and 100% of the correctional officers were White. The prisoner revolt at Attica took place during 5 days. However, the event is best understood within three contexts that span decades both before and after the Attica revolt: (1) historical contexts of protest and state repression preceding the revolt; (2) the period during the revolt: initial ...