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Crime and Punishment in the Jim Crow South$
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Amy Louise Wood and Natalie J. Ring

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780252042409

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252042409.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM ILLINOIS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.illinois.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Illinois University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ISO for personal use.date: 15 June 2021

The South’s Sin City

The South’s Sin City

White Crime and the Limits of Law and Order in Phenix City, Alabama

(p.79) Chapter 4 The South’s Sin City
Crime and Punishment in the Jim Crow South

Tammy Ingram

University of Illinois Press

This chapters examines the phenomenon of organized crime in the South, focusing on Phenix City, Alabama, which became notorious for its high concentration of gambling dens, illegal bars, and prostitution rings. It draws attention to the story of Albert Patterson, a local attorney who fought the government corruption that allowed crime and vice to flourish in Phenix City. Due to white desires for local sovereignty and racial order, public officials cooperated with mobsters and ensured their immunity from prosecution. The chapter shows that the decriminalization of whites was as important a function of Jim Crow governments as the criminalization of African Americans.

Keywords:   Phenix City, Alabama, organized crime, vice, immunity, decriminalization, Jim Crow, corruption, Albert Patterson, mobsters

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