[sixties-l] A story from Attica.

From: Walter Teague (wteague@erols.com)
Date: Sat Sep 08 2001 - 17:02:05 EDT

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    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

                                     ENDED IN A HISTORIC SETTLEMENT

                        Ghosts of Attica to Premiere on 30th Anniversary of
    Prison Uprising,
                                            September 9th

                      New York, New York, June 20, 2001 -- In 1971, a prison
    rebellion in
                      upstate New York and its brutal suppression seared the
    word "Attica"
                      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.
    Hosted by
                      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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