In 1971, inmates at the Attica Correctional Facility rose up and took over the prison by force. Their demands were largely about getting more humane treatment from guards and better living conditions. The event, which took place over just five days and nights, could have been a game changer for advocates of prison reform, but instead ended in a bloody tragedy. Still, the uprising managed to galvanize activists and reformers, some of whom channeled their fury and frustrations into poster art, reflecting the national passions stirred up by the uprising.
Some of these posters sought to appeal to filmgoers interested in re-examining the significance of what took place. Others tried to rally people sympathetic to the cause of the “Attica Brothers,” who were refused amnesty in the wake of the prison being re-taken by law enforcement. Such images would do much to keep the cause of the prisoners alive in the consciousness of the public, ensuring that the legacy of the men who fought and died, and those who survived the uprising, would never be forgotten.
Adam Howard is a Senior Producer of The New Yorker Radio Hour. Previously, he was a Senior Associate Producer at the Full Frontal with Samantha Bee show and an Executive Producer of the Full Release with Samantha Bee podcast. Prior to his career in late night comedy and radio, he spent several years as a journalist, writing about sports, pop culture and politics for The Daily Beast, Playboy, NBC News, and theGrio. He is a graduate of Columbia University’s School of Journalism and studied film history and screenwriting at Bard College. In his spare time, he illustrates his own alternative movie posters and resides in Brooklyn, N.Y.