1915 August 17

Leo Frank Lynched; Anti-Semitism Rises


Leo Frank, a Jewish-American in Atlanta, Georgia, was lynched by a mob in Marietta, Georgia, on this day. The lynching was one of the worst incidents of anti-Semitism of the period. Frank had been convicted of the murder of Mary Phagan, who worked at a factory where he was a superintendent. Frank was the last person to see Phagan alive, but there were many questions about whether he was in fact guilty. In 1986, Frank was granted a pardon because of the failure of authorities to protect him when he was lynched.

Reportedly, half of the Jews living in Georgia left after the lynching. The lynching was closely related to the revival of the Ku Klux Klan, which was newly organized at Stone Mountain, Georgia, on November 25, 1915, three months after the lynching. The Klan in this period directed its hatred against Catholics and Jews almost as much as African-Americans, particularly in states outside the South. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) had been organized on September 17, 1913, in response to rising anti-Semitism across the country.

Read: Leonard Dinnerstein, The Leo Frank Case (1968)

Learn more about the Leo Frank Trial: http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/frank/frankmain.html

Watch the trailer for the film The People v. Leo Frank: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4mDoq-3olSM

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