Resistance Behind Bars
The Struggles of Incarcerated Women (2nd Edition)
By Victoria Law
Introduction by Laura Whitehorn
In 1974, women imprisoned at New York’s maximum-security prison at Bedford Hills staged what is known as the August Rebellion. Protesting the brutal beating of a fellow prisoner, the women fought off guards, holding seven of them hostage, and took over sections of the prison.
While many have heard of the 1971 Attica prison uprising, the August Rebellion remains relatively unknown even in activist circles. Resistance Behind Bars is determined to challenge and change such oversights. As it examines daily struggles against appalling prison conditions and injustices, Resistance documents both collective organizing and individual resistance among women incarcerated in the U.S. Emphasizing women’s agency in resisting the conditions of their confinement through forming peer education groups, clandestinely arranging ways for children to visit mothers in distant prisons and raising public awareness about their lives, Resistance seeks to spark further discussion and research into the lives of incarcerated women and galvanize much-needed outside support for their struggles.
This updated and revised edition of the 2009 PASS Award winning book includes a new chapter about transgender, transsexual, intersex, and gender-variant people in prison.
“An important contribution to the growing movement to end prisons as we know them.”—Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
“Victoria Law’s eight years of research and writing, inspired by her unflinching commitment to listen to and support women prisoners, has resulted in an illuminating effort to document the dynamic resistance of incarcerated women in the United States.”—Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, author of An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States
“Written in regular English, rather than academese, this is an impressive work of research and reportage”—Mumia Abu-Jamal, political prisoner and author of Live From Death Row
“Law’s important book illuminates these underreported stories of individual and collective organizing by women in prison and encourages all of us to work in solidarity across prison walls to create a world that no longer includes the prison industrial complex.”—Angela Davis, author of Are Prisons Obsolete?
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