After nearly 93 years, a Georgia State Historical Society marker was dedicated near the site of the infamous Leo Frank lynching in Marietta, Ga., Aug. 17, 1915. The tragedy, one of the darker moments of Georgia State and American Jewish history, cannot be overlooked or diminished. Philosopher Georgia Santayana noted, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." Hatred, bigotry, mob irrationality, judicial and societal moral failure characterized the story. The Leo Frank marker project - a two-year effort spearheaded by JASHP, was dedicated March 7, 2008.
The Marker text reads:
Near this location on August 17, 1915, Leo M. Frank, the Jewish superintendent of the National Pencil Company, in Atlanta, was lynched for the murder of thirteen year old Mary Phagan, a factory employee. A highly controversial trial fueled by societal tensions and anti-Semitism resulted in a guilty verdict in 1913. After Governor John M. Slaton commuted his sentence from death to life in prison, Frank was kidnapped from the state prison at Milledgeville and taken to Phagan's hometown of Marietta where he was hanged before a local crowd. Without addressing guilt or innocence and recognition of the state's failure to protect Frank or bring his killers to justice he was granted a posthumous pardon in 1986.
Erected by the Georgia Historical Society, the Jewish American Society for Historic Preservation and Temple Kol Emeth
(Click to enlarge)
ADL Badge worn at dedication (click to enlarge)
WHEREAS, a number of statements by others involved in the Mary Phagan case suggest that Mr. Frank was innocent of the crime; and in 1986, with support from Governor Joe Frank Harris, and through the efforts of attorneys associated with the Anti-Defamation League, the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles granted Leo Frank a posthumous pardon based on the state's inability to secure his safety while he was in state custody; and...
Georgia General Assembly: Senate Resolution 1066 March 7, 2008
Images of a dark anti-Semitism, surrounding the Frank – Phagan tragedy, led to a rebirth of the Ku Klux Klan and hatred as respectable evil. Vigilance, awareness of hatred and evil in any form, is forever warranted.
Leo Frank (Click to enlarge)
Trial of Leo Frank (Click to enlarge)
Atlanta Constitution (Click to enlarge)
Marietta, Ga. town square (click to enlarge)
Leo Frank lynching (click to enlarge)
KKK today and marching down Pennsylvania Ave., Washington, D.C. in the 1920's. (Click to enlarge)