'OITNB': What Does "Attica" Mean?
Warning: This post contains mild spoilers for Season 5 of 'Orange is the New Black.' You have been warned.
Alright, folks, this is it. Season 5 of Orange is the New Black just dropped on Netflix, and we're finally finding out what crazy shenanigans are going down in Litchfield.
However, if you've been paying attention (or if you've watched the leaked episodes), you might already have a pretty good idea of what those shenanigans are.
Remember how Season 4 ended? With the ladies of Litchfield revolting? While that was happening, Leanne and Angie, following the lead of some other prisoners, starting chanting "Attica! Attica!"
Of course, being the lovable, uneducated racists that they are, they don't actually know what "Attica" means.
They think it means Atticus Finch, from To Kill A Mockingbird...
...which they also confuse with Mockingjay from The Hunger Games.
Obviously, that's not what Attica refers to. But what does it mean?
It's actually a reference to the Attica Prison riot, which occurred at Attica Correctional Facility in Attica, New York in 1971.
It's one of the most famous prison riots to come out of the Prisoners' Rights Movement, and it bears striking similarity to situation at Litchfield.
On September 9, 1971, over 2000 inmates rioted and took over control of the prison. They took 42 officers, staff and civilians hostage, and created a list of demands pending their release.
These demands included things like better medical treatment, fair visitation rights, an end to physical brutality, and amnesty for the prisoners who participated in the riot.
Even if you haven't started bingeing Season 5, you'll recognize this theme in the season's trailer.
You better believe Orange is the New Black is taking some inspiration from history.
In just the first few episodes, the ladies have already played out the Attica riots pretty much to a T, including taking the staff hostage, and demanding amnesty and better treatment. The governor is even getting involved — just like the real one did in 1971.
Unfortunately, the real Attica riot ended with a denial of these demands from Governor Nelson Rockefeller, a breakdown of negotiations, and the state police taking control of the prison.
When it was all over, at least 43 people were dead, including ten officers and staff, and 33 inmates.
I don't want to spoil all of Season 5, but that would make for a pretty bleak ending for our girls at Litchfield.
Let's hope Netflix comes up with a better conclusion than history did.