The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Why It Matters Today

Thursday Lecture Series, Shock and Reverberation

February 23, 2017 Thursday, 12:15pm–2:15pm EST The Heyman Center, Second Floor Common Room, Columbia University
  • Max Mishler
  • Registration required. See details.
  • First come, first seated
  • Audience open exclusively to Columbia faculty, students, and invited guests
  • All others interested in attending, please email SOF/Heyman at [email protected].

On September 9, 1971, almost 1,300 prisoners took over the Attica Correctional Facility in upstate New York to protest years of mistreatment. Holding guards and civilian employees hostage, the prisoners negotiated with officials for improved conditions over four long days and nights. On Sept. 13, the state abruptly sent hundreds of heavily armed troopers and correction officers to retake the prison by force. Their gunfire killed 39 men -- hostages as well as prisoners -- and severely wounded more than 100 others. In the ensuing months, troopers and officers brutally retaliated against the prisoners.Ultimately, New York State authorities prosecuted only the prisoners, never once bringing charges against the officials involved in the retaking and its aftermath and neglecting to provide support to the survivors or the families of the men who had been killed.This talk considers the 1971 Attica prison rebellion and why it matters today