The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971, in which prisoners held control of the facility for four days, ended with an assault on the prisoners gathered in D yard. When the tear gas cleared, 29 prisoners and 10 of the guards they had taken hostage were dead, and 128 more men were wounded—all at the hand of the state. The retaking was historically significant not only for the magnitude of the bloodshed but for the cover-up that followed. Investigations were stymied; what investigators ultimately did discover was redacted or sealed. In this paper I examine the Attica Uprising through a lens of prison abolition and explore it as a tool of critical pedagogy. Depending heavily on Heather Ann Thompson’s recent revelations about the Attica Uprising, I retell the history of the uprising guided by Paulo Freire’s pedagogy for liberation. I conclude that such a critical retelling can teach us several lessons about solidarity and social movements in a divided society.
Bontrager, Dylan Martin
"Historical Revelation for Present-Day Liberation: What the Most Famous Prison Uprising in US History Can Teach Us About Social Change,"
Tapestries: Interwoven voices of local and global identities: Vol. 7:
1, Article 5.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.macalester.edu/tapestries/vol7/iss1/5
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