"Our purpose in life is to leave a legacy for our children and our children’s children. For this reason, we must correct history that at present denies our humanity and self-respect." - Queen Mother Moore
The system used the main nonviolent themes of Martin Luther King’s life to present a strategy designed to protect its own interests – imagine the most violent nation on earth, the heir of Indian and African genocide, the only nation ever to drop an atomic bomb on a civilian population, the world’s biggest arms dealer, the country that napalmed over 10 million people in Vietnam (to “save” it from communism), the world’s biggest jailer, waving the corpse of King, calling for nonviolence!
Bobby Seale, Attica State Correctional Facility, Sep 1971.
With the riot at Attica State Correctional Facility worsening the prisoners ask to speak to the Black Panthers, William Kunstler, the Nation of Islam and the Young Lords among others. Bobby Seale and Elbert “Big Man” Howard were among the Panthers there. They negotiated a peaceful resolution which was undermined by Gov. Nelson Rockefeller who had aspirations beyond mere Governor.
“We are MEN! We are not beasts and do not intend to be beaten or driven as such. The entire prison populace has set forth to change forever the ruthless brutalization and disregard for the lives of the prisoners here and throughout the United States. What has happened here is but the sound before the fury of those who are oppressed.”—The Five Demands: To the People of America, Attica inmates, September 9, 1971.
Inmates at Attica State Prison in Attica, N.Y., raise their hands in clenched fists in a show of unity during the Attica uprising in this photo from Sept. 11, 1971.
“You did the right thing. It’s a tragedy that these poor fellows were shot but I just want you to know that’s my view and I’ve told the troops around here that I back that right to the hilt,” Nixon told Rockefeller by telephone after Rockefeller ordered that 1,000 law enforcement officers to storm the prison and retake it from inmates who were holding dozens of guards hostage.
Nixon asked Rockefeller whether blacks were primarily involved in the uprising.
“Oh yes, the whole thing was led by the blacks,” Rockefeller said in part of an exchange experts said hinted at the two political leaders’ immediate concerns over public perception.