Interview with Herbert X. Blyden

I'll tell you what, I want to ask you again and I want to get some, some more feelings out of you. What it was like when you first went to that D-yard the first day of that takeover, of the uprising. What was it like in there among the inmates? How did you feel being among all these, the 1,200, the 1,200-something men?


What did you see?


The first day of the uprising out in D-yard with 1,280 some odd men running around, whipping people, I'm talking about literally, physically, assaulting people whom they had not seen because of the diverse laws they've got in Attica about blocks. You've got four different prisons in one, and finally they, they contacted someone who they hadn't seen for some time. We had a, another group running around, and the prison hospital, ah, was overtaken so they had now had access to drugs, so the drug element was there and would have OD had we not stopped them from abusing drugs. We had younger inmates, that was one of the concern we had raised, and some of the older inmates who had been incarcerated for 15 or 20 years were actually physically abusing the younger inmates. I'm talking about raping these younger kids. So that had to be stopped. And, ah for the most part the pandemonium had to be stopped. And that's where, you know, in looking at this madhouse, we had to put an end to it by bringing the Muslim piece into play and, setting up the negotiating team with, ah, clearer heads. But, ah, the general chaos was such that even I was taken aback. I was amazed at how serious a situation it was. I mean, was it not taken into hand, put in check right away, ah, a great deal of harm could have occurred.


OK. Let's cut a second.