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Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy
January 18, 2018 • 7:30 pm PST
Heather Ann Thompson
In conversation with Kelly Lytle Hernandez, director, Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies, UCLA
Winner of a 2017 Pulitzer Prize, historian Heather Ann Thompson sheds new light on the infamous 1971 Attica Prison riot as one of the most important civil rights stories of the last century. Chronicling the horrific conditions that led to 1,300 prisoners taking over the upstate New York correctional facility and how the state violently retook the prison—killing thirty-nine men and severely wounding more than a hundred others—Blood in the Water also confronts the gruesome aftermath. From brutal retaliation against the prisoners, to corrupt investigations and cover-ups, and civil and criminal lawsuits, Thompson meticulously follows the ensuing forty-five-year fight for justice. In a conversation with Kelly Lytle Hernandez, a professor and director of the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies at UCLA, Thompson discusses the impact of what this tragic historic moment can teach us about racial conflict, failures in mass incarceration, and police brutality in America today.