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Thursday marked the 50th anniversary of the start of the Attica Prison Uprising, one of the worst prison riots in U.S. history that began on Sept. 9, 1971, and lasted for four harrowing days.

The photo scenes presented here from those fateful four days are meant to paint an accurate picture of what exactly happened a half-century ago at Attica Correctional Facility in upstate New York.

MORE: Attica 50: How The U.S. Government’s Lies About Prison Uprising Fueled Lingering Mistrust Of The System

When the smoke cleared, dozens of people were killed and even more injured in a hail of bullets fired by state troopers and National Guardsmen — an act of indiscriminate violence that the government intentionally blamed on the prisoners, who, it was later determined, actually killed no one during the uprising.

The rebellion was years in the making following unanswered demands for improved living conditions that included overcrowded cells and allegations of racial and religious persecutions against the majority Black and brown inmates made of up African Americans and Hispanics.

In an attempt at mediation, people like Black Panthers leader Bobby Seale and civil rights attorney William Kuntsler were brought in to talk to inmates. However, Seale left the prison after just 25 minutes because he wasn’t given access to the cellblock that was being controlled by the inmates, the New York Times reported at the time.

“This morning the Commissioner (New York State Correction Commissioner Russell G. Oswald) and his aides would not let me in, saying that if I was not going inside to encourage the prisoners to accept the so called demands made by the committee, they did not want me,” Seale said after his visit to Attica. “I’m not going to do that.”

Seale added later: The Black Panther party position is this: The prisoners have to make their own decision. I will not encourage them to compromise their position.”

The inmates ended up getting 28 of their demands for prison reform met. However, a half-century later, much of the entire episode remains shrouded in secrecy as much of the official government reports on the uprising and rebellion have been redacted.

In particular, it remains unclear what evidence if any was presented to a grand jury during an investigation into the rebellion and uprising, including an alleged cover-up by corrections officials that included a false narrative of inmates killing hostages when it was actually police officers and the National Guard responsible for the deaths.

Keep reading to find vintage photos from the Attica Prison Uprising as provided by Getty Images, along with their original captions.

1. Attica Inmates Raising Fists in Unison During Riot

Attica Inmates Raising Fists in Unison During Riot Source:Getty

Rebellious inmates at the Attica Correctional Facility give the black power salute while Commissioner R.G. Oswald negotiates with leaders of the takeover. The riot began in the overcrowded prison after inmates discovered alleged undeniable racial biases with past prison sentences and parole decisions.

2. Rioting Inmates at Attica State Prison

Rioting Inmates at Attica State Prison Source:Getty

Inmates at the Attica State Correctional Facility raise their fists in support of their demands while other leaders of the prison takeover talk with Commissioner R.G. Oswald.

3. Saving in to crush riot; National Guardsmen wearing gas masks prepare to storm Cellblock D; the stro…

Saving in to crush riot; National Guardsmen wearing gas masks prepare to storm Cellblock D; the stro... Source:Getty

Saving in to crush riot; National Guardsmen wearing gas masks prepare to storm Cellblock D; the stronghold of the rebellious convicts at Attica; N.Y.; state prison. After a 10-minute bloodbath that left 38 persons dead.

4. The New York state troopers and national guardsmen involved in police assault on Attica state prison…

The New York state troopers and national guardsmen involved in police assault on Attica state prison... Source:Getty

The New York state troopers and national guardsmen involved in police assault on Attica state prison were trained in use of firearms. Yet nine of the hostages they were to rescue were shot to death. Why? asks one reader.

5. Inmates Being Held After Riot

Inmates Being Held After Riot Source:Getty

Inmates at the Attica State Prison sit by the trench in “D” yard in this 9/13/71 photo made shortly after the state police halted prison riot. Photo, taken by State officials, was released to the news media April 26, 1972, by the New York State Special Commission Investigating the prison revolt. 

6. Paraphernalia of Attica Prison Rioters

Paraphernalia of Attica Prison Rioters Source:Getty

A collection of some of the weapons found after a massive attack on rebelling Attica prison inmates, September 13. Note belt lettered “Executioner.” Forty-two inmates and guards died in the five-day riot. vertical,no people,photography,danger,1970-1979,ominous,archival,aggression,clothing,social issues,weapon,prison,finding,prisoner,evil,accidents and disasters,attica – new york state,massive attack

7. Burned Hat Framing Bullet Hole

Burned Hat Framing Bullet Hole Source:Getty

A burned hat of an Attica guard frames a bullet hole in the railing surrounding the yard of Cell Block D at Attica State Prison where 40 persons died, September 13. Ten hostages and 30 prisoners were killed when armed police and National Guardsmen staged a mass assault on rioting prisoners. September 13, 1971. 

8. Helicopter Flying over Correctional Facility

Helicopter Flying over Correctional Facility Source:Getty

A military helicopter flies over the wall at Attica State Correctional Facility here, dropping hundreds of tear gas bombs as authorities moved in to break up the rebellion of inmates that has been going on since Sept. 9th. Officials report, that 28 prisoners were killed in the assault on the prison. A total of ten employees were killed, nine; Sept. 13th, and one who died, Sept. 11th, as a result of injuries suffered Sept. 9th.

9. Aerial View of Attica Prison During Riots

Aerial View of Attica Prison During Riots Source:Getty

Smoke from burning buildings hangs in the air over Attica State Prison 9/9 during riot by 1,000 prisoners. prisoners took 35 hostages and beat eight other guards before releasing them. Hundreds of prisoners are gathered in the prison yard.

10. Aftermath of Rioting in Attica Prison

Aftermath of Rioting in Attica Prison Source:Getty

Bars and broken glass frame the destruction and defects that resulted when police staged a mass attack on rioting prisoners at Attica prison. Nine hostages were killed by inmates and 28 prisoners died before order was restored at the maximum security facility.

11. Inmates Lie on Line and Stand in Prison Yard

Inmates Lie on Line and Stand in Prison Yard Source:Getty

Inmates lie on ground at left while others stand stripped for search at right in a yard at the state prison here 9/13/1971. The state police rapid-fire assault on the prison began four minutes prior to the first appeal to rebellious inmates that they surrender, it was disclosed 4/26 at the McKay mission hearings into the four-day uprising.

12. Stripped down Attica prison inmates in courtyard after riot

Stripped down Attica prison inmates in courtyard after riot Source:Getty

Stripped down Attica prison inmates in courtyard after riot was put down.

13. Attica Correctional Facility

Attica Correctional Facility Source:Getty

Attica Correctional Facility Riot 

14. Attica Correctional Facility

Attica Correctional Facility Source:Getty

Attica Correctional Facility Riot

15. Attica Correctional Facility

Attica Correctional Facility Source:Getty

Attica Correctional Facility Riot

16. Attica Correctional Facility

Attica Correctional Facility Source:Getty

Mattresses, crates and other rubble litter the yard after the riots at Attica State Prison.

17. Attica Correctional Facility

Attica Correctional Facility Source:Getty

Attica Correctional Facility Riot

18. Attica Correctional Facility

Attica Correctional Facility Source:Getty

Attica Correctional Facility Riot

19. Bobby Seale Visits Attica State Correctional Facility

Bobbie Seale Visits Attica State Correctional Facility Source:Getty

Black Panther Party leader Bobby Seale, left, is flanked by state police as he enters riot torn Attica State Correctional Facility 9/11. Seale entered the maximum security prison to talk to inmates just before it was learned that a guard died as a result of injuries suffered during the 9/9 takeover.

20. Attica Correctional Facility

Attica Correctional Facility Source:Getty

Attica Correctional Facility Riot

21. Attica Correctional Facility

Attica Correctional Facility Source:Getty

Attica Correctional Facility Riot

22. Attica Correctional Facility

Attica Correctional Facility Source:Getty

Attica Correctional Facility Riot

23. Attica Correctional Facility

Attica Correctional Facility Source:Getty

Attica Correctional Facility Riot

24. Vincent R. Mancusi at Attica Prison

Vincent R. Mancusi at Attica Prison Source:Getty

Attica Correctional Facility Superintendent Vincent P. Mancusi enters the main gate at the prison, September 11. One of the demands of the prisoners is the removal of Mancusi.

25. Attorney William Kuntsler

Attorney William Kuntsler Source:Getty

Attorney William Kunstler arrives at the Attica State Correctional Facility, September 10, to discuss grievances with rebellious inmates. Inmates had asked to see Kunstler and several other persons.

26. Black Panther Bobby Seale

Black Panther Bobby Seale Source:Getty

Black Panther Party leader Bobby Seale (second from left) arrived at Greater Buffalo International Airport where he will motor miles to the Attica State Correctional Facility, September 11. He is on a special citizens panel invited to intermediate with prisoners and state officials.

27. Mattresses, crates and rubble fill the yard after riots at A

Mattresses, crates and rubble fill the yard after riots at A Source:Getty

Mattresses, crates and rubble fill the yard after riots at Attica State Prison.

28. Attica Correctional Facility

Attica Correctional Facility Source:Getty

Attica Correctional Facility Riot

29. William Kunstler Addressing Prison Inmates

William Kunstler Addressing Prison Inmates Source:Getty

Attorney William Kunstler (R) with the negotiating committee behind him and inmates atop a guard shack in the exercise yard of cell block D, tells rebellious inmates at the Attica State Correctional Facility that he will defend them. The 4-hour meeting took place in the early hours of the morning 9/11. Rebel convicts killed 9 civilian employees at the prison, as more than 1,000 state troopers, national guardsmen, and sheriff’s deputies stormed the facility.

30. Flag at Half Staff at Correctional Facility

Flag at Half Staff at Correctional Facility Source:Getty

Flag at half-staff at Attica Correctional Facility after hostages and inmates were killed when police attacked rioting prisoners.

31. Armed Police in State Prison

Armed Police in State Prison Source:Getty

Heavily-armed police stand watch over the area of Attica State Correctional Facility still under the control of an estimated 1,000 rioting prisoners. The men are holding 36 hostages which they say they will kill if force is used against them. The broken clock shows the time the riot started, 9:30 a.m. on September 9.

32. Attica Inmates Sitting at Medical Station

Attica Inmates Sitting at Medical Station Source:Getty

Inmates at the Attica State Correctional Facility here display a fairly well-equipped hospital they have set up, September 11th. The insurgent inmates had held 38 hostages since the outbreak began, September 9th. Nine civilian employees of the prison were killed by convicts, September 13th, and more than 1,000 state troopers, national guardsmen and sheriff’s deputies stormed the facility. A tenth prison employee died on September 11th, as a result of injuries suffered September 9th.

33. Attica Correctional Facility

Attica Correctional Facility Source:Getty

Father of slain guard breaks down as he is taken from scene at Attica State Prison riot.

34. Attica Riot

Attica Riot Source:Getty

Guards line up outside Attica Correctional Facility, New York, after rioting broke out in the prison, 11th September 1971.

35. Home Made Weapons

Home Made Weapons Source:Getty

14th September 1971, Guards look over home made weapons confiscated during Attica State Correctional Facility prison riot.

36. Destruction at Attica

Destruction at Attica Source:Getty

11th September 1971: Broken windows and a debris filled corridor in a cell block inside the Attica State Correctional Facility after riots had occured inside the prison, Attica, New York.

37. Attica After Riot

Attica After Riot Source:Getty

14th September 1971: The vacant prison yard strewn with debris after the riot at the Attica State Correctional Facility in Attica, New York.

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