Event: Frankie kills "Johnny"
Category: African-American Experience, Cultural Life
Brief Description: On October 15, 1899, 22-year-old Frankie Baker shot 17-year-old Albert Britt to death at 212 Targee Street. The shooting apparently was over another woman, Alice Pryor. The following night, Bill Dooley, a black pianist and songwriter composed "Frankie and Albert," a ballad which would later become famous as "Frankie & Johnny." The song was played in many black saloons and inspired a movie of the same name by Republic Pictures, starring Helen Morgan and Chester Morris. (Magnan) Frankie Baker is acquitted of the murder, claiming self-defense and leaves St. Louis. She sues Republic Pictures, claiming it is her story. During the trial, testimony shows that the story has been told in song and over 300 verses are known to exist. It is considered a folk song and Frankie loses her case. She dies in a mental institution in Portland, Oregon in 1950. (Magnan)(Wright)
Decade: 1890 - 1899
Beginning Date: Oct. 15, 1899
Ending Date: Oct. 15, 1899
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