Mark Anthony Neal, TheLoop21
In September of 1971, more than a thousand prisoners at the Attica Correctional Facility in Attica , NY revolted in what eventually became one of the most famous prison standoffs in American history. Before the insurrection was bloodily quelled on orders of then New York State Governor Nelson Rockefeller, the prisoners demanded an improvement to the conditions that they were forced to live. In the midst of the Black Power Movement, Attica became a lasting symbol for demands for human and civil rights, even among the incarcerated.
Perhaps even more remarkable than the strike, in which inmates shared information via text messaging on phones bought from prison guards, is that the strike went virtually unnoticed by mainstream American media. That so many chose to ignore what has been called the largest strike of its nature in American history, speak volumes to how Americans continue to think of the American Prison System or what scholars and activists have more commonly referred to as the “Prison Industrial Complex.” The inmates themselves have another word for their reality: “Slavery.”
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