Black Quotidian: Everyday History in African-American Newspapers

October 12, 1972

Guest post by Kirk Rotger, undergraduate student at Manhattan College.

On October 12, 1972, the Chicago Defender reported on a jail revolt in Washington D.C. that left those in charge floundering, and flummoxed as to how they should handle it. Washington Department of Corrections director Kenneth Hardy thought that the best way to deal with the revolting inmates would be to go in and talk to them, and perhaps convince them to stand down. This was widely regarded as a bad idea. Upon entering one of the cell blocks, he was taken prisoner.  Hardy’s close friend, Cook County Corrections director Winston Moore, said of Hardy that “He was very concerned with the prisoners.” Hardy cared deeply for the well-being of the inmates under his direction, implying that his reason for wanting to negotiate was out of compassion. Of the city’s handling of the situation, Moore was less kind. “How long will D.C. authorities do nothing or how long will it be before the prisoners do something?” Moore said that the best course of action would have been an aggressive one, quelling the revolt before the inmates did something drastic and somebody was hurt.
 

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