Episode 237:

Anti-Hype Man

Patty Cannon


Civil Rights Lawyer Alberta Odell Jones


Episode 237: Anti-Hype Man

Karen and Georgia cover the wickedest woman in America, Patty Cannon, and the unsolved murder of civil rights pioneer Alberta Jones.

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Patty Cannon

Patty Cannon Notes:

Header Image Slider: Photo by Guy Bianco IV on Unsplash

Other Images:

Patty Cannon (illustration by Cory McNaught)


“"Patty" Cannon, whose birth name may have been Lucretia Patricia Hanly (c. 1760 or 1759 or 1769 – May 11, 1829), was an illegal slave trader and the co-leader of the Cannon–Johnson Gang of Maryland–Delaware. The group operated for about a decade in the early 19th century kidnapping free blacks and fugitive slaves, along the Delmarva Peninsula to sell into slavery in the South. The activity became known as the Reverse Underground Railroad.

Mayor Joseph Watson of Philadelphia and Governor John Andrew Shulze of Pennsylvania worked to recover young free blacks kidnapped by the gang in the summer of 1825 and to prosecute the gang members. They did not succeed in trying any of the white members. After being acquitted in Mayor's Court, mulatto gang member John Purnell (alias John Smith and others) was convicted on two counts of kidnapping in Philadelphia County Court in Pennsylvania in 1827. He was sentenced to a fine and 42 years in jail. He died in jail five years later.

In 1829, Cannon was indicted in Delaware for four murders after the remains of four blacks (including three children) were discovered on property she owned. She confessed to nearly two dozen murders and died in prison while awaiting trial. Some sources say she committed suicide by poison.

Beginning in 1841, some popular accounts referred to the illegal slave trader as Lucretia P. Cannon, although there is no evidence to indicate she used the name "Lucretia" in her lifetime. A popular 19th-century novel based on her exploits contributed to her mythic status as a ruthless figure. She has continued to be featured as a figure in fiction...”

— Source: Patton Cannon Wikipedia


Civil Rights lawyer Alberta Odell Jones

Civil Rights Lawyer Alberta Odell Jones Notes:

Header Image Source: Photo by Bill Oxford on Unsplash

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Alberta Odell Jones (via Wikipedia)

Alberta honorary street sign (via WLKY News Louisville YouTube)


"Alberta Odell Jones (November 12, 1930 – August 5, 1965) was an African-American attorney and civil rights icon. She was one of the first African-American women to pass the Kentucky bar and the first woman appointed city attorney in Jefferson County. She was murdered by unknown person.

Jones was active in the civil rights movement, taking part in protest marches in Louisville and attending the March on Washington in August 1963. Upon returning from Washington she formed the Independent Voters Association of Louisville and was very involved with the Louisville chapter of the Urban League. She rented voting machines and taught African Americans how to use the machines to vote. She was also active in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Another of her causes was a fundraising effort to pay the medical bills of a young man, James "Bulky" Welch, who lost his arms saving his dog trapped under a train, purchasing him prosthetic arms by auctioning a car.

Her killing was first attributed to drowning and her body was retrieved from the Ohio River. However, her car was found several blocks from the Sherman Minton Bridge with blood inside and a subsequent autopsy determined that she had been subjected to several severe blows to the head before entering the water. Her killing was never solved.

The belated murder investigation by Louisville police contributed to her murder never being solved. The follow-up police investigation determined that she had been beaten unconscious with a brick and witnesses recalled seeing a body tossed by three unidentified men from the bridge, where her purse was later found.

In 2017, efforts were made to reopen the Jones case and it became a cause célèbre. Detectives involved in the initial investigation were interviewed in the hope that new leads had surfaced over the 52 years since the killing. Professor and attorney Lee Remington, who was doing research for a biography, found clues to the murder and sent a letter to the Louisville police, who agreed to reopen the case. The civil rights division of the Department of Justice also began an investigation. The investigation is funded by a new law, the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act, which provides $13.5 million annual funds to the Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and state and local law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute pre-1970 killings..."

— Source: Alberta Odell Jones Wikipedia