Interview with Herbert X. Blyden

OK, once again, if you could describe that early morning before the assault and then the assault itself.


September 13, 1971 stands out. It was a blue Monday, storm clouds on the horizon, fog, hazy, looked like one of those London City movies that you look at, you know. And, ah, we had our regular morning briefing, the 1,281 inmates and myself. As the Chair I had addressed from standing on top of a platform they had put there and we were told, or they were told by me after the committee had instructed me to tell them, to make up their mind whether they wanted to end the uprising now and go back to their cells or stay out in the yard. And 1,280 of 1,281 men in D-yard decided they would stay. I remember this one White guy in the audience, said he wanted to be in his cell. He was standing in the middle of the yard and for a moment it appeared that they would engulf him with their anger. And I hollered, "No, don't touch him. Let him come up here." And he took his time and he came up to where I was. And I asked him to stand behind me. And, ah, he had more courage, seriously, than any one of us in the yard. But, ah, he stayed there until 15 minutes later, the helicopter started to drop the tear gas and the wanton shooting began by the guards who were on the towers and this is all the while they're saying to us, "Put your hands on your head. You will not be harmed. Surrender to the nearest officer." They were shooting all the while. And, ah, the pandemonium that broke out as a result of the dropping of the tear gas and the CM gas and the, ah, shooting with the 270s and the 12 gauge shotguns, I think, created mass hysteria and, ah, additional injury to untold hundreds of men in D-yard.


Let's cut.