Episode 310:

I Like Seagulls

The Attica Prison Uprising


The Survival of José Salvador Alvarenga


Episode 310: I Like Seagulls

On today’s episode, Georgia and Karen cover the Attica prison uprising and the survival of José Salvador Alvarenga.

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The Attica Prison Uprising

The Attica Prison Uprising Notes:

Header Image Source: Photo by Tyler Rutherford on Unsplash 

Other Images:

Attica Correctional Facility—Jayu (via KQED)

Prisoners after the uprising with New York State Police—New York State Special Commission on Attica (via NY Post)


"The Attica Prison Rebellion, also known as the Attica Prison Massacre, Attica Uprising or Attica Prison Riot, was the bloodiest prison riot in United States history, and is one of the best-known and most significant flashpoints of the prisoners' rights movement.

The revolt was based upon prisoners' demands for better living conditions and political rights. On September 9, 1971, 1,281 out of the approximately 2,200 men incarcerated in the Attica Correctional Facility in Attica, New York, rioted and took control of the prison, taking 42 staff hostage. During the following four days of negotiations, authorities agreed to 28 of the prisoners' demands, but would not agree to demands for the removal of Attica's superintendent nor a complete amnesty from criminal prosecution for the prison takeover. By the order of Governor Nelson Rockefeller, state police regained control of the prison. By the time the uprising had ended, at least 43 people were dead, including 10 correctional officers and civilian employees and 33 inmates.

Rockefeller, who refused to meet with the prisoners during the rebellion, stated that the prisoners "carried out the cold-blood killings they had threatened from the outset", despite the fact that the deaths of only one officer and three inmates were attributed to the prisoners. The New York Times writer Fred Ferretti said the rebellion concluded in "mass deaths that four days of taut negotiations had sought to avert".

As a result of the rebellion, the New York prison system made changes to satisfy some of the prisoners' demands, reduce tension in the system, and prevent such incidents in the future. While there were improvements to prison conditions in the years immediately following the uprising, many of these improvements were reversed in the 1980s and 1990s. Attica remains one the most infamous prison riots to have occurred in the United States..."

— Source: Attica Prison Riot Wikipedia

The Survival of José Salvador Alvarenga

The Survival of José Salvador Alvarenga Notes:

Header Image Source: Photo by Ant Rozetsky on Unsplash 

Other Images:

Elliott 'L.D.’ Barkley (via historica.fandom.com)

José Alvarenga (via BBC News)

José Alvarenga’s boat (via Quora)


“José Salvador Alvarenga (Spanish: [xoˈse salβaˈðoɾ alβaˈɾeŋɡa]; born c. 1975) is a Salvadoran fisherman and author who was found on 30 January 2014, aged 36 or 37,[nb 1] on the Marshall Islands after spending 14 months adrift in a fishing boat in the Pacific Ocean beginning on 17 November 2012. He survived mainly on a diet of raw fish, turtles, small birds, sharks and rainwater. He swam to shore at Tile Islet, a small island that is part of Ebon Atoll, on January 30. Two locals, Emi Libokmeto and Russel Laikidrik, found him naked, clutching a knife and shouting in Spanish. He was treated in a hospital in Majuro before flying to his family home in El Salvador on February 10.

Alvarenga's story was heavily reported worldwide despite initial criticism from skeptics. He is the first person in recorded history to have survived in a small boat lost at sea for more than a year.

Alvarenga set out from the fishing village of Costa Azul, near Pijijiapan, off the coast of Chiapas, Mexico on 17 November 2012, accompanied by a 23-year-old co-worker whom he knew only as "Ezequiel". Alvarenga, an experienced sailor and fisherman, was intent on a 30-hour shift of deep-sea fishing during which he hoped to catch sharks, marlins, and sailfish, but his usual fishing mate was unable to join him. He arranged instead to bring along the inexperienced Ezequiel Córdoba, with whom he had never worked or even spoken, and only knew by his Christian name.

Shortly after embarking, their boat, a seven-meter (23-foot) topless fiberglass skiff equipped with a single outboard motor and a refrigerator-sized icebox for storing fish, was blown off course by a storm that lasted five days, during which the motor and most of the portable electronics were damaged. Though they had caught nearly 500 kilograms (1,100 lb) of fresh fish, the pair were forced to dump it overboard to make the boat maneuverable in the bad weather. Alvarenga managed to call his boss on a two-way radio and request help before the radio's battery died. Having neither sails nor oars, no anchor, no running lights, and no other way to contact shore, the boat began to drift across the open ocean. Much of the fishing gear was also lost or damaged in the storm, leaving Alvarenga and Córdoba with only a handful of basic supplies and little food…”

— Source: José Salvador Alvarenga Wikipedia