During the Great Depression, two rag-tag, small-time criminals named Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow crisscrossed the American back roads to rob small stores, armories, and a few banks. At least nine law enforcement officers and four civilians died in the couple’s wake as they eluded the cops until killed in a 1934 ambush. Americans were fascinated with their story and gobbled up news of their exploits. Today, their lives continue to hold people’s interest, including that of an Alabama man named Ted Prince. Prince has set up a
Facebook page to share
information on the criminal’s history. It includes some rare and unique photos
and copies of documents.
|A 1933 Habeas Corpus for Bonnie Parker (as seen |
on Facebook page "Remembering Bonnie & Clyde"
Prince operates the Facebook page “Remembering Bonnie And Clyde,” where he posts hard-to-find photos of Bonnie Parker, Clyde Barrow, their cohorts, family, and friends. It includes copies of newspaper accounts and official paperwork, such as a Habeas Corpus and a letter to the FBI. Among his friends, Prince counts Bonnie Parker’s niece and Clyde Barrow’s nephew, who also contribute comments and photos when possible.
“When I was a little kid, I would watch (television show) ‘The Untouchables,’” Ted Prince says. “I loved the old cars, machine guns, and cops and robbers in general. My father started telling me stories of John Dillinger and Clyde Barrow.” In 1933 Prince’s father was 18 and working in Atlanta when headlines about a Joplin, Missouri shootout between the “Barrow gang” and the cops made headlines. The elder Prince kept up with the Barrows after seeing that headline. Ted Prince inherited the interest.
|Clyde Barrow & Bonnie Parker|
Debate about Bonnie Parker (b. 1910) has always existed in the world of criminologists. Was she a vicious gun moll who found excitement in shooting and death, or was she just an ignorant girl, swept up in love with the wrong man and cast her fate? Ted Prince has his theory. “From what I understand, she was just a normal woman. She just had bad taste in men.” Bonnie’s first and only husband was serving time in prison when she met and fell for Clyde. When Bonnie Parker fell, it was true love, and she vowed to stay with him until the end. “Someday they’ll go down together/they’ll bury them side by side,” Bonnie penned in her famous poem called “The Trail's End.” Prince agrees that Bonnie Parker must have had a “wild” side. “Some girls are attracted to bad boys. And she found one.”
Clyde Barrow’s (b. 1909) family came from extreme poverty. Petty crime landed him in the harsh Texas prison system where he was brutally assaulted and killed his first man, a rapist who preyed on Clyde. When he was released, he became one of the targets of local Dallas police: if a local crime occurred, immediately Clyde Barrow was a suspect. So he took to the criminal life. “Clyde Barrow wasn’t a cold-blooded murderer,” says Ted Prince. “He never went out of his way to kill anyone. He would rather run than shoot.”
Ted Prince says he finds the Bonnie and Clyde story interesting for the same reason other people are attracted to their history: it’s a boy meets girl “great love story. It’s a crime team.” And their legend lives on in history; there is a “Bonnie and ClydeTrade Days” flea market and a Bonnie and Clyde Museum (you can purchase Frisbees, snow globes, and a lunch box bearing the criminal couple’s likeness.) Both located in the city where they stopped just before dying in the ambush.
Ted Prince’s interest is turning into a book about Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker. “It’s not going to be a ‘regular’ book about the Barrows,” he explains. “It’s going to be day by day, month by month account of the crime spree starting after Clyde was paroled in 1932 until they were killed. The chronicles will cover their own crimes, crimes they were accused of, and crimes they most likely committed that most historians overlooked.” The book is in the working stages, with a release date to be determined. Readers can keep updated by going to Prince’s Facebook page.
Ted Prince is not glorifying criminals but understands crime is part of history. Even today, each time a man and woman go on a crime spree together, they are dubbed “Bonnie and Clyde.” The couple was able to elude police for so long because, at the time, cops did not have access to big guns and fast cars. And the depression era contributed to people’s attitudes towards certain criminals.
Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow's story resides in crime history for multiple reasons. So many people, including Ted Prince, are drawn to their story; his Facebook page reveals there is no end to available information and public interest. It appears they will go down in history, just as Bonnie penned in one of her poems, despite the fact they were two small-time criminals who just loved one another.
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