Interview with Frank Smith (Big Black)
QUESTION 7
SAM POLLARD:

the day in terms of where you were, the day of the rebellion what happened with you?

FRANK "BIG BLACK" SMITH:

The day of the rebellion, ah, I guess 7:30, quarter to 8 in the morning, I was in the laundry, that was my job assignment and myself and four, five, more of my friends, we were sitting at the window.



SAM POLLARD:

Describe the day of the rebellion in terms of where you were, what happened to you.

FRANK "BIG BLACK" SMITH:

The day of the rebellion, ah, I was in the laundry, quarter to, quarter 8, 8 o'clock in the morning, that's my job assignment. Myself and three, four, five friends was sitting next to the hallway, other than that, they got a table adjacent to the hallway outside, inside you're locked in, you can't get out. And we seen and heard a lot of commotion in the hallway, a lot of inmates was running up and down the hallway and I start smelling gas, you know and I start asking questions, you know, "What was happening?" And, and, and we were getting feedback, "The shit is on, a lot of things is happening, let us in, they're gassing us, they're gassing us." So, the police that had the laundry, he came out and said, "What are you all going to do?" Said, "What are we going to do about what?" You know looking back now I assume he was talking about whether we were going to apprehend him or take the keys off him and open up the door. But we didn't have a chance to do that before we know anything. The whole wall gave in. That's how many inmates was in the hallway and to show you the condition that the building was in or the foundation was in. And now, here we are in the laundry and the people in the hallways in the laundry with us. So the police opened up the back door and, ah, they got this chemical, you know 50 gallon drum. Next thing I know that's on fire and over our shop, the laundry, is the mattress shop and over that is the barber shop, so this whole complex now is going up in smoke. So we go through the back door, the side door, but one of the inmates, a person that I knew from playing football told me, "Hey man," said, "you know, a lot of shit is on, you know, everybody just going every which way, you know. Some stuff happened last night, you know, over in A Block and something happening in Times Square this morning and, yeah I seen him with your friend which was a cop and he's in the yard and he look like he's in bad shape." So, I said to two, three of my buddies, you know, "Let's go and see what's going on." So, we goes down the hallway instead of going around the side of the building and going the other way, we went this way and then we, instead of going left, in fact normally we supposed to, we went right and wind up in the yard, you know. But on our way to the yard we seen a whole lot of things, you know, a lot of fights, a lot of fires, in, in, you know, inmates and cops running loose and people getting beat, you know and whooped, inmates and cops really. And I went right to the circle, you know, by that time there's a circle in the yard now, and all the, you know, the Department of Correction cops is in the circle. And I walked up to this cop, you know, buddy of mine, and I asked him what was happening. And he told me that he felt like his arm was broke or something, you know, was wrong with him. And I said, "Well man, just, you know, cool out. Let me see what's going on out here and I'll get back to you."

SAM POLLARD:

OK, stopping down.