John PattersonOther Figures Goldville, Alabama
John Patterson was elected the 44th Governor of Alabama and served from 1959 – 1963. He was an early and important supporter of John F. Kennedy for President in 1960 and later visited the President in the White House. Patterson was elected Governor on a strong segregationist platform. Patterson knew of the potential for violence when the CORE Freedom Riders reached Alabama on May 14, 1961. His Director of the Alabama Highway Patrol, Floyd Mann, positioned two undercover patrolmen on the Greyhound bus that was firebombed outside Anniston, AL. Determined to win political points with Alabama segregationists, Patterson later proclaimed that he would stand, "against Martin Luther King and these rabble-rousers." During the Freedom Rider crisis, Patterson refused to take a phone call from President John F. Kennedy. He struggled to keep U.S. troops out of the conflict that escalated in Montgomery outside the First Baptist Church, eventually calling out the Alabama National Guard.