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History is not decided: Understanding the legacy of the Attica prison uprising.


We have a citizenry that's very skeptical of the government, but we also have a nation deeply steeped in White supremacy and in notions of what Blackness is, associating it with criminality and barbarity - so when the media hears a story that Black prisoners have castrated and slit the throats of hostages, it doesn't even need corroboration, and notably, nor does much of its White readership.

Historian Heather Ann Thompson examines the 1971 Attica prison uprising - from the movement's democratic origins, to the government's brutal response - and explains how Attica shaped decades of public opinion and political decisions on civil rights, mass incarceration and state violence against organized citizens.

Heather is author of the book Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy from Pantheon.

Interview transcript via Antidote Zine

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Heather Ann Thompson

Heather Ann Thompson is an author and Professor of History in the Department of Afro-American and African Studies, Residential College, and Department of History at the University of Michigan.


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