Interview with Herbert X. Blyden

Brother Herb, could you tell me about the conditions, what the conditions were like in Attica?


Well, the conditions in Attica at the time of the uprising was such that the, ah, majority of the inmates, of whom there were over two thousand, got concerned with the one shower per week, one roll of toilet paper per month, the tampering of the mail, and I say tampering in terms of excising portions of a magazine or letters from home, ah, the salary or wages per day in the metal plant was like 80 cents, ah, and the overall harassment by the guards of the inmates most of whom were from the metropolitan areas of New York City, Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse. The guards for the most part were from rural Attica, the village in Wyoming County, County and they were underpaid, grossly underpaid, seven thousand, six thousand, seven thousand dollars a year. So naturally they couldn't relate to the urban-type inmate that were brought to Attica. And as result that created a lot of conflict between the rural and urban, ah, guards and inmates. That's the gist of the problems that we had.