Alcatraz History

Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland gazing at the Golden Gate Bridge
Secretary Haaland met with the Indians of All Tribes to mark the 52nd anniversary of the Occupation of Alcatraz Island, a key milestone in the history of the island, our country, and the broader Native American civil rights movement.
'The Big Lockup' exhibit at Alcatraz Island
Our Work
A permanent exhibit on Alcatraz Island tells the story of the United States prison system through the voices and experiences of those formerly incarcerated, scholars, and criminal justice advocates.
Inside the New Industries Building on Alcatraz Island.
Park E-Ventures Article
Robert Lipscomb, a Black man from Cleveland, Ohio, grew up during the Great Depression and, after a traumatic and destabilizing childhood, eventually ended up in the Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary where he agitated for social change.
Ranger Benny Batom at Alcatraz
For nearly 30 years, Ranger Benny Batom has uncovered Alcatraz Island’s lesser-known history to bring untold stories to visiting students. He works to facilitate dialogue addressing contemporary issues around incarceration and justice. We sat down with Ranger Benny to ask him about his history and this moment.
Alcatraz Citadel Flyby
Two closed-off stairwells lead down from the first floor of the Alcatraz Cellhouse to a lower, blocked-off basement level called the Citadel, one of the earliest structures on Alcatraz. Through the digital resources on this page, this site and its history can be observed and interpreted virtually.
Eloy Martinez, third from right, at an event on Alcatraz.
Gateways Article
On Nov. 20, 1969, a group of Native Americans set up camp on Alcatraz Island in nonviolent protest, claiming it as Indian Land under the Treaty of Fort Laramie (1868). Eloy Martinez was one of them.