This publication about the Attica Prison uprising of 1971 is not intended to be a curriculum guide, but a brief primer for educators and organizers. It includes a timeline of events (with primary sources); testimonies from Attica prisoners; poetry by Attica prisoners; sample activities for youth; and other suggested resources.
We do not claim to have addressed all of the complexity of the rebellion in this short document. This is by no means intended to be the definitive word about the context and meaning(s) of the rebellion. We simply offer this resource as another in the long line of publications that have been produced about the Attica uprising. We do so knowing that we will omit a lot important information. This is unavoidable.
We had been looking for exactly this type of resource to foster our own popular education efforts and activism on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Attica rebellion. We didn’t find anything that quite worked so we took it upon ourselves to create what would be useful for us. A core value of ours is to share information with others in order to facilitate movement-building to eradicate incarceration. As such, we share this resource with you.
This primer was produced by organizers and educators rather than by historians. While we tried to be objective, we are not neutral. We state this unabashedly and honestly. We sincerely hope that this material is useful to you if you plan to discuss the Attica uprising with your students, community members, and others. We encourage others in the future to add to our collective knowledge about the Attica Rebellion and its legacy.
Finally, we invite you to freely reproduce and distribute this primer. We ask that it be disseminated at no cost and that Project NIA be acknowledged as producing this resource. We love hearing from folks about how they have used our resources so make sure to drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Special thanks to the following people who contributed to making this primer a reality…
Caitlin Seidler has once again lent her considerable talents to designing and laying out this resource. Caitlin’s commitment to social justice is unrivaled and she has our deepest gratitude.
Lewis Wallace has been integral to the development of our work at Project NIA. He is a terrific organizer who is committed to the abolishment of prisons. We would like to thank Lewis for all of his contributions to this project.
Katy Groves is a fierce advocate and ally to youth in conflict with the law. She is tireless in the struggle for criminal legal reform. Our thanks to Katy for her incredible illustrations.
Finally, this primer is dedicated to the memory of all who died at Attica, we will not forget.
Note: Please join us for a series of events about the Attica Prison Uprising this September.
P.S. Look out [in the next couple of weeks] for an Attica Prison Uprising Zine that we are creating along with our friends Lewis Wallace and Micah Bazant specifically for an upcoming event in September. It will be available for downloading.