Pulitzer Prize-winning historian to give annual McGinty Lecture

Historian Heather Ann Thompson will visit Salve Regina this week to discuss her Pulitzer Prize-winning book “Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy,” a searing and indelible account of one of the most important civil rights stories of the last century.

Thompson’s lecture, the second in the John E. McGinty Lecture in History series, will be held at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, April 26 in the Bazarsky Lecture Hall. A book sale and signing will follow the lecture. To RSVP, visit the Eventbrite page.

In 1971, nearly 1,300 men took over one of the nation’s most infamous prisons, the Attica Correctional Facility in upstate New York, to protest years of mistreatment. That historic uprising to secure basic human rights was met with deadly force, and for the next 45 years the story of how such trauma could have taken place was hidden from the public.

Thompson will share the story of this dramatic rebellion, its tragic end and the depth of the coverup that followed it. Knowing this history, she suggests, shines needed new light on why we have more people locked up in the United States today than any other country on the globe.

“Blood in the Water” won the Pulitzer Prize in History, the Bancroft Prize, the Ridenhour Book Prize and the J. Willard Hurst Prize, and was a finalist for the National Book Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, among other accolades.

Thompson has served on a National Academy of Sciences blue-ribbon panel that studied the causes and consequences of mass incarceration in the United States and has given congressional staff briefings on the subject. She has written on the history of mass incarceration and its current impact for The New York Times, Time, The Atlantic, Salon, Newsweek, NBC, Dissent, New Labor Forum and The Huffington Post, as well as for various top scholarly publications. Thompson is also the author of “Whose Detroit? Politics, Labor and Race in a Modern American City” and editor of “Speaking Out: Activism and Protest in the 1960s and 1970s.”

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