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On this date in 1971, 1,300 prisoners took over Attica Prison in Western New York State. The mostly Black prisoners rebelled against their guards, took over the facility, and held 40 hostages.
The inmates had a list of demands for better living conditions, including showers, education, and vocational training. After seven days of negotiations between the prisoners and government authorities, the National Guard and state police seized the prison, killing 43 people, including ten hostages.
The Medical Examiner's reports contradicted the statements of prison officials regarding the alleged atrocities committed against hostages. Autopsies revealed that hostages did not die from having their throats slashed by their captors, as had first been suggested by prison officials, but from the troops' deadly fire.