The Tragedy and the Triumph of Phenix City, Alabama
In 1954 gamblers and organized crime that controlled Phenix City, Alabama, arranged for the assassination of Alabama Attorney General-elect Albert Patterson. Patterson's murder followed in the wake of his efforts to clean up the small city on the Alabama-Georgia state line. The horrific assassination attracted national and international attention in the London Times and the New York Times, as well as magazines such as Time, Look, Life, Newsweek, and the Saturday Evening Post.In the first chronological narrative of these events ever published, Margaret Anne Barnes tells the true story of how economic hard times in the Depression led a mayor to barter immunity from prosecution to gamblers and gangsters in exchange for money to save the town from going into receivership. By mid-century the criminal element managed to buy or infiltrate every office of government in the city. When their control was absolute, no crime was beyond their commission, no citizen safe, and no constitutional right could be relied upon.Focusing her narrative on the roles key figures played in restoring Phenix City to stability, Barnes bases her work on interviews with surviving principals and investigators. She dramatically reconstructs the story as it unfolded using private papers, depositions, trial transcripts, and court records. This riveting narrative traces the contributing factors and the dramatic events in Phenix City. In the process the author shows how citizens' vigilance and exercise of the ballot can prevent similar suspensions of human rights and civil liberties from being repeated.
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In the 40's it was even more lawless. My father and mother were Mr. X. They had to keep their identity a secret until their death. My fathers cousin was Fate Leeburn and dad worked for Donald his son. I remember when I was a teenager and we drove through Columbus in the late 60's, my mother was still terrified that they would be recognized after all those years. Some of the stories they told me were not in the book and were amazing. How when they were listening in and recording where one had his wife killed and they buried her in lime but used the wrong lime and she was preserved. How many of the young soldiers stationed near there were killed and thrown into the river after a night of gambling. They were found out and heard it so jumped in their car and went back to Tennessee in the middle of the night. I often begged my father to record his story but he never did. I wish I had paid more attention to it. I have forgotten so much of it and it is all worth remembering. My friend found this book and it brought much joy to my dad to read it before his death.
Excellent book, I have it. Was there and lived through it. It would take five books to tell all the trouble we had. I even remember 12 year old girls dating the National Guards at Girard School. We had a gaming house on our farm and finally reported it. Some of my family were involved and are in the book. We want have to live through that again.