Thursday, May 23, 2013
May 23 (1934) Bank robbers Bonnie & Clyde ambushed in Louisiana "They wouldn't give up till they died"
On this day in 1934, Clyde C. Barrow and Bonnie E. Parker were gunned down in a remote area of Louisiana after years on the lam. It was the nadir of the depression, with the unemployment rate exceeding 20%, the foreclosure rate over 12%, and the South and Midwest (where most of their crimes occurred) mired in a catastrophic drought.
In his book Go Down Together: The True, Untold Story of Bonnie and Clyde, Jeff Guinn argues that Bonnie & Clyde's murderous rampage attained mythical status in part because robbing banks and killing law enforcement officials was seen as a revolt against an uncaring system.
Ms. Parker helped foster this image with her poetry, most of which she penned in a bankbook.
Below is an excerpt from her poem "The Story of Bonnie and Clyde."
They call them cold-blooded killers;
They say they are heartless and mean;
But I say this with pride,
That I once knew Clyde
When he was honest and upright and clean.
But the laws fooled around,
Kept taking him down
And locking him up in a cell,
Till he said to me,
"I'll never be free,
So I'll meet a few of them in hell."
The road was so dimly lighted;
There were no highway signs to guide;
But they made up their minds
If all roads were blind,
They wouldn't give up till they died.
Image from Texashideout.com