Interview with Herbert X. Blyden

Amnesty seemed to be one of the main issues among the inmates. Why was it important to you, specifically?


Amnesty was very important among the inmates in D-yard if only because with the death of Quinn the 600 inmates of the 1,200 who were doing life sentence at that time was facing the electric chair because of the law in the book at the time. The follow-up question to amnesty was then transferred to a non-imperialist country. If we could not get amnesty we just wanted to leave. And, ah, some of us who were granted amnesty by then Mayor Lindsay of New York City for the Tombs uprising, understood full well what it meant to not be charged with a crime after a paper amnesty was granted. We were charged with a crime in New York City because we were not given amnesty in writing. So we wanted the alternative to an amnesty in writing granted by the Governor or transfer to a non-imperialist country. But it was very, very important because we had 600 men who were facing the electric chair at that point.