Heather Ann Thompson, author of Blood In The Water
Although much has been written about the take over and ensuing assault on the Attica prison by state police and national guard troops some four days later which resulted in the murder of forty three individuals, including ten hostages, one statement by a 21 year old spokesperson for the inmates, himself later executed by police after they retook the prison, rings no less true or powerful today, some 45 years later:
Forty-five years after the rebellion at Attica, one of the greatest civil rights uprisings of that century stunned the nation, millions of Americans mostly men and women of color are locked away in prisons often for decades. But, Attica continues to serve as the inspiration, most recently for the largest prison strike in the history of this country and as Eddie Ellis, our recently deceased WBAI radio journalist, prisoner reform advocate and former Attica prisoner who was locked in one of the secured areas of the prison during the uprising said: “the bloodshed at Attica did something important it exposed what was being done to people and it also showed what men were able to do in a few short days when we work together. That history will serve us, one way or another. The choice, as it has always been, is up to us to dismantle the system of mass incarceration”.
Heather Ann Thompson, author of Blood In The Water, draws from more than a decade of extensive research and sheds new light on every aspect of the uprising and its legacy, giving voice to all those who took part in this forty-five-year fight for justice: prisoners, former hostages, families of the victims, lawyers and judges, and state officials and members of law enforcement. Blood in the Water is the searing and indelible account of one of the most important civil rights stories of the last century.