The authorities of the new york prisons removed a veto on the book Blood in the Water: The Attica Uprising of 1971from the historian and professor at the University of Michigan Heather Ann Thompson.
Published in 2016, the book is one of the most detailed accounts of the rebellion, in which more than 1,300 inmates seized part of a prison in upstate New York to protest years of mistreatment. The 1971 riots ended when state officers and guards sprayed tear gas into a prison yard and fired hundreds of shots into the smoke.
Total 32 prisoners and 11 guards died. No officer was prosecuted for his participation in the massacre.
Faced with the veto, the author filed a lawsuit for violating the freedom of expression. Despite the change in decision, the authorities said they will continue to censor a small part of the award-winning book Pulitzer for security reasons. A two-page map of Attica will be removed from copies sent to prisons.
“People have a right to read and people have a right to history,” Thompson said in a statement when the lawsuit was filed. “We also have the right to have our books read. It’s a shame we live in a country where we censor people and ideas.”
Thompson was represented in the lawsuit by the Civil Rights Clinic at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law and the New York Civil Liberties Union.
Last week the state attorney’s office said in a letter to a federal judge in Manhattan that the ban would end, but only for paperbacks in which the map can be removed.
If a correctional facility denies a request to order the book, prison authorities are legally required to notify Thompson.