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.
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.
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.
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.