“We are men. We are not beasts, and we do not intend to be beaten and driven as such.” With this declaration, men in the Attica State prison rose in the most powerful prison rebellion in US history. The Attica Brothers took guards as hostages and controlled the prison for 4 days, issuing demands that included an end to brutality, better conditions in the prison and no reprisals against them for rising up.
Their example of defiance electrified the country and the world. And the way in which the prisoners conducted themselves while they controlled the prison showed a glimpse of how the world could be different. They overcame differences between Blacks and whites, they refused to back down in the face of threatened attacks by the state police, they shared what food and water they had amongst themselves and with their hostages, and no one took vengeance against the guards for the brutality they had inflicted.
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