Tomorrow night, Sunday, 9/8/01 a new documentary on the Attica Uprising
will show on Court TV.
Reading their blurb below and the post from the Sixties list, it sound
well worth watching. Previous fictionalized films were gross distortions
and the documentaries I saw were sparse in detail or political
background. Hopefully 30 years and some successful lawsuits will allow a
more candid portrayal.
I wish I'd known about this film cause I would have liked to suggest
they check on the following story:
A then friend of mine, was in Attica during the rebellion for his anti
Vietnam War activities. After his release, he told me he had been
crouched in the trench along side of Sam Melville and said that Saw was
one of the very first people shot by one of the riflemen. Then, when the
police came up to the trench, they shot Sam in the head with a pistol,
effectively finishing the execution.
When the press, the Daily News I believe, reported the names of those
killed, the only name I saw at first was "Sam Melville, mad bomber." To
me it was just more proof of the political nature of the suppression.
Sam was notorious and had been arrested for anti-war bombings and had
increased his political studying during his stay in Attica. Supposedly,
he helped start the prisoner newspaper that led to the compiling of
political demands. I was told that he then pulled back from leadership
because he was white and other prisoners took over the paper.
Governor Rockefeller had described the uprising (for prisoner and human
rights) as a revolution. Sam certainly was a political revolutionary and
in being part of prisoner organizing, it makes sense to me that he could
have been singled out for the first assassination at Attica.
While this story may be lost, I will be checking to see how it portrays
the attempted cover-up of who really killed the hostages. For those who
don't know, the press and authorities first conjured up viscous reports
that the prisoners slit the throats of the hostages. But a lone
courageous state coroner, examined the bodies and told the world that,
"No, they did not die of knife wounds, they were shot!" and the only
people shooting that day were the police and national guard! They killed
10 of their own along with 29 prisoners!
Walter Teague, LICSW, LCSW-C
Clinical page: http://www.erols.com/wteague
Political page: http://www.redandgreen.org
SUSAN SARANDON TO HOST COURT TV DOCUMENTARY ON THE
ATTICA PRISON UPRISING AND THE 30 YEAR JOURNEY TO
ENDED IN A HISTORIC SETTLEMENT
Ghosts of Attica to Premiere on 30th Anniversary of
New York, New York, June 20, 2001 -- In 1971, a prison
upstate New York and its brutal suppression seared the
permanently into the American psyche. On the 30th
anniversary of the
iconic uprising, Court TV will premiere Ghosts of
Attica, a feature-length
documentary about the rebellion, which ended in the
deaths of 29
inmates and 10 guards at the hands of State Troopers.
Academy Award-winner and noted activist Susan
Sarandon, the film will
offer a newly definitive history of America's
bloodiest prison rebellion. It
will also chronicle for the first time the journeys to
justice made by both
inmates and hostages. The documentary shows both
groups -- united
by suffering, but divided by race, class and culture
-- hurtling towards a
showdown with New York State. This program will
premiere on Sunday,
September 9th at 9:00 p.m.
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