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Episode 16: He Done Her Wrong

In 1899, Allen Britt did Frankie Baker wrong. The consequence of his betrayal was murder and a ragtime song from St. Louis that became a cherished part of American folklore.


“Britt, Allen [Frankie and Johnny],” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database,

Cooperman, Jeanette. “The story of segregation in St. Louis.” St. Louis Magazine. October 17, 2014.

Merkel, Jim. “THIS WEEK IN SOUTHSIDE HISTORY: 1899 shooting here may have inspired famous song” St. Louis Post-Dispatch. October 16, 2008.

Morgan, Stacy. Frankie and Johnny: Race, Gender, and the Work of African American Folklore in 1930s America. (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2017).

Murder Ballads (A visit to a bad neighborhood) Part 2.” Riverside Blues Society.

Smith, Jessie Carney. Ed. Encyclopedia of African American Culture. Vol. 1. (Oxford: Greenwood, 2011.)

St. Louis Post-Dispatch. October 19, 1899.

“Contends Targee Street Frankie is One Done Wrong.” October 14, 1939.

“Frankie’s Inquest Story in ‘99 to be Used in Suit.” October 16, 1939.

“Al’s Friend Says Frankie Just an Ordinary Girl.” October 21, 1939.

October 28, 1939.

“George Britt Testifies Al a Good Boy.” November 11, 1939.

“Shot Her Man at 212 Targee Frankie Says.” February 13, 1942.

“Testifies ‘Frankie’ Ballad May Stem Back to Africa.” February 18, 1942.

“Frankie Says She Hopes Her Man is in Heaven Now.” February 20, 1942.

“Frankie Loses Again.” February 25, 1942.

“Lovers’ Spat Turns into Famous Ballad.” October 17, 2010.

Young, Perry Deane. The Untold Story of Frankie Silver: Was She Unjustly Hanged? (New York: ASJA Press, 2005.)

Music: Dellasera by Shane Ivers -


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