Cover image for The tragedy and the triumph of Phenix City, Alabama
The tragedy and the triumph of Phenix City, Alabama
Barnes, Margaret Anne.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Macon, Ga. : Mercer University Press, [1998]

Physical Description:
319 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
F334.P45 B37 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



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.