A Hero of Phenix City's Dark Days Remembered - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

A Hero of Phenix City's Dark Days Remembered

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A shameful part of Phenix City history is remembered by honoring a man who helped save the city. 52 years ago Friday a Phenix City lawyer who had just been elected the state's attorney general was assasinated.

Albert Patterson planned to clean up the town which at that time was considered one of the most corrupt cities in America. A courthouse photo and a plaque placed on the spot of his death will carry on his legacy.

"One of the biggest areas visited in this community is where Mister Patterson was killed, and we want to give the story to the people who visited there," says Bill Benton of the Russell County Historical Commission.

Patterson was elected Alabama Attorney General during Phenix City's darkest days. The streets were full of gambling, prostitution, and public corruption. He planned to clean up the town but he was assasinated just 12 days after being elected.

J.B. Kirkland witnessed the crime. "And when I saw him walk around the corner of the building without his cane, I knew it was him and I ran to him, just did miss and he fell and hit the ground and I said Mr. Patterson who shot you?" he recalled.

Albert's son John Patterson was elected attorney general, and governor after his father's death. He wanted to make sure that his father did not die in vain. "I thought it was important to make sure we were able to follow up on the cleanup and make sure this crowd didn't come back," he says.

The placement of the photo and plague allows the younger generation to  be reminded of Phenix City's dark days, and its heroes. Former Russell County Chief Deputy Albert Fuller was the only person convicted in Patterson's assasination. The Russell County Historical Commission, and the Chamber of Commerce sponsored the event.

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