Interview with Michael Smith
QUESTION 4
TERRY ROCKEFELLER:

Can you talk some about the kinds of people that were guards and the kinds of people that were now increasingly becoming inmates. Obviously the guards were from very different backgrounds than the majority of the inmates. Describe to me, if you could, what that, what that scene was like and what the confrontations were like.

MICHAEL SMITH:

The guards were, the guards at Attica were, for the most part, from rural communities surrounding that area. And had, ah, been born and raised in those communities. And the inmate population was increasingly more Black. And there was difficulty for the two people, the inmates and the guards, to communicate because of their differences in background. Ah, they hadn't shared the same experiences growing up and there was a, a lack of interest or a lack of desire, I thought, especially on the guards' part to attempt to communicate with the, ah, inmate.