by Gene L. Howard
University of Alabama Press, 2013
eISBN: 978-0-8173-8056-4 | Paper: 978-0-8173-5770-2 | Cloth: 978-0-8173-1605-1
Library of Congress Classification F330.3.P27H68 2008
Dewey Decimal Classification 976.1063092


John Patterson, Alabama governor from 1959 to 1963, was thrust into the Alabama political arena after the brutal murder of his father, attorney general Albert Patterson in 1954. Allowed by the Democratic Party to take his father’s place and to complete the elder’s goal of cleaning up corruption in his hometown Phenix City, Patterson made a young, attractive, and sympathetic candidate. Patterson for Alabama details his efforts to clean up his hometown, oppose corruption in the administration of Governor Big Jim Folsom, and to resist school desegregation. Popular on all three counts, Patterson went on to defeat rising populist George Wallace for governor.


Patterson’s term as governor was marked by rising violence as segregationists violently resisted integration.  His role as a champion of resistance has clouded his reputation to this day. Patterson left office with little to show for f his efforts and opposed for one reason or another by nearly all sectors of Alabama. Stymied in efforts to reclaim the governorship or a seat on the Alabama state Supreme Court, Patterson was appointed by Wallace to the state court of criminal appeals in 1984 and served on that body until retiring in 1997. In 2004, he served as one of the justices who removed the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court Roy Moore for ignoring a federal court order.

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