PHENIX CITY, Ala (WRBL)- Phenix City paid tribute to its notorious past by honoring slain Alabama Attorney General-elect Albert Patterson.
It’s been 66 years since Albert Patterson was shot to death on the streets of Phenix City. He had just been elected Alabama Attorney General and promised to “clean up” the vice, and corruption in his town.
“I was a senior at Central high school in Phenix City when he was assassinated, and that was just an awful time for us. My friend and I were privileged to attend Girls State in Montgomery, and while there people thought of Phenix City as Sin City USA,” said Peggy Martin the Vice-Chairperson of Russell County Commission.
Sin City was what Phenix City was called in the 1940’s, and ’50’s as political corruption, gambling, and prostitution ruled the day.
In 1950, Albert Patterson was one of the first members of the Russell Betterment Association, whose purpose was to fight that corruption. Today Phenix City honored his name, and legacy with a bench statue that is 20 steps from where he was gunned down on June 18, 1954.
“Albert Patterson was a humble man, he was very interested in doing good things for other people. So, I think that the kind of statue that you have chosen to dedicate of him sitting on a bench out here sort of represents him quite well,” said his grandson, Albert Patterson III.
Albert Patterson III is the son of John Patterson, who was elected Alabama attorney general and eventually governor in the wake of his father’s assassination.
“His murder began a sequence of changes that once and for all broke organized crime’s hold on Phenix City and it was a hold that was never able to be re-established Phenix City freed itself through the sacrifice of one man so it’s wonderful that we have this interactive statue,” said Dr. David White Vice-Chancellor of Troy University Phenix City.
The bench sits across the street from the Courtyard Marriott Hotel in Phenix City, Alabama.