Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Speaking of Never Forgetting

Forty years ago today New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller unleashed the full and brutal armed might of the state against the rebellious prisoners at the Attica State Prison. Hundreds were shot and injured. Dozens were killed indiscriminately by Rockefeller's storm troopers, including prison guard hostages who had been unharmed by the rebels:

William Allen, Elliott (L. D.) Barkley, John B. Barnes, Edward Cunningham (hostage), John J. D’Arcangelo (hostage), Bernard Davis, Allen Durham, Willie Fuller, Melvin D. Gray, Elmer G Hardie (hostage), Robert J. Henigan, Kenneth E. Hess, Thomas B. Hicks, Emanuel Johnson, Herbert W. Jones Jr. (hostage), Richard J Lewis (hostage), Charles Lundy, Kenneth B. Malloy, Gidell Martin, William B. McKinney, Lorenzo McNeil, Samuel Melville, Edward R. Menefee, Jose Mentijo, Milton Menyweather, John G. Monteleone, (hostage), Richard Moore, Carlos Prescott, Michael Privitiera, William E. Quinn (hostage), Raymond Rivera, James B. Robinson, Santiago Santos, Barry J. Schwartz, Harold Thomas, Carl Valone (hostage), Rafael Vasquez, Melvin Ware, Elon F. Werner (hostage), Ronald Werner (hostage), Willie West, Harrison Whalen (hostage), Alfred William

The New York Times revealed a newly-released tape recording of Rockefeller reporting to President Nixon on the success of the attack on the prisoners: “They did a fabulous job,” Rockefeller told Nixon. “It really was a beautiful operation.” You can hear how disgusting Rockefeller's gloating is on an audioclip at the NYTimes link.

As far as I'm concerned it is Rockefeller's name that should be forgotten.

(Names from the excellent downloadable resource "Attica Prison Uprising 101: A Short Primer" from Attica Is All Of Us.) The more you read about the rebellion and its causes and aftermath, the more furious you will be.


  1. archie shepp's "attica blues" is so cool to listen to while reading about the attica riots. not that the riots were cool, but... you know what i mean.

  2. I do know what you mean freebones. I wanted to post a clip of that but I couldn't find one on youtube, only the later live version.

    Also extraordinary is "Attica" from the Descendants of Mike and Phoebe, which was Spike Lee's dad's band on the Strata-East label. Hard to find but well worth a listen.