The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Notorious Bonnie & Clyde discussed on SE

By Alexis Poe/ reporter

Bullet holes riddled the old Ford car where Bonnie and Clyde lay slain for the world to see.

SE art associate professor John Phillips described the scene in All Roads Lead to Eastham: The History of Bonnie and Clyde Oct. 12 on SE Campus.

Phillips detailed the lives of Clyde Barrow, Bonnie Parker and the gang members who followed these infamous criminals of the Depression era leading up to the fateful day they died. Much of Phillips’ research was based on his interviews with Barrow gang member Ralph Fults.

When talking about Bonnie and Clyde, most people are really only talking about Barrow since the only time Parker ever shot someone was shooting herself in the foot, Phillips said.

Barrow was sentenced to Eastham State Farm north of Huntsville, Texas, for committing auto theft and burglary. There, he transformed into the dangerous criminal he is remembered as today, Phillips said.

Ex-cons claimed Eastham was plagued with horrendous conditions. A state investigation, published in 1935, verified these claims and specifically cited the tremendous brutality of guards toward inmates that fostered a vengeful attitude among the convicts.

“I saw Clyde Barrow change from a schoolboy to a rattlesnake right before my eyes,” Fults told Phillips.

Within weeks of his arrival, Barrow began plotting his revenge on the institution where he was held captive, Phillips said.

Barrow and Fults met in 1930, chained by the neck in a truck on their way into Eastham. They plotted to form a gang and raid Eastham to release as many convicts as possible.

Though Fults was captured before this raid took place, Barrow’s one-track mind fixated on revenge.

With Parker and new gang member, W.D. Jones, Barrow roamed the South committing robberies on long joyrides. The trio later met up with Barrow’s brother Buck and his wife Blanche who joined in on the crime spree.

“I always found it interesting that Bonnie and Clyde robbed gas stations like the one Clyde’s father owned,” Phillips said. “They robbed very few banks, unlike everyone thinks.”

Barrow, Parker and Jones carried out the raid on Eastham and managed to free four convicts Jan. 16, 1934.

“All roads lead back to Eastham for Clyde Barrow,” Phillips said.

Just four months later, the notorious couple died in an ambush by law enforcement officers just south of Gibsland, Louisiana.

Student Adjo Kadjo appreciated the historical information in the presentation.

“I understand more about why Bonnie and Clyde committed the crimes they did now, “ Kadjo said.

SE library services director Jo Klemm said the library has a copy of Phillips’ book Running with Bonnie and Clyde.

“But don’t just check it out,” she said. “Go buy it!”

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