Monday, November 2, 2009

People v. Leo Frank

Tonight PBS debuts The People v. Leo Frank. In case you don't remember, this was the case of 13-year old Mary Phagan, who was found at an Atlanta pencil factory beaten, strangled and possibly raped. Frank, the factory's Jewish superintendent, was ultimately convicted and sentenced to death. This sentence was later commuted by then Governor John Slaton, who felt Frank had been denied a fair trial.

As the picture to the right shows, the original sentence was carried out nonetheless by some "civic-minded" Atlantans. Many of these same Dudley Do-Rights went on to join similar like-minded individuals and eventually reconstitute an until-then dying organization: the Ku Klux Klan.

However, the Frank case also served as a catalyst for another organization: the Anti-Defamation League, which found its mission in the Jewish executive's lynching and has since been a champion for civil rights and social justice.

There is a very real argument that the Frank case was the catalyst for the Civil Rights fight that was to come several decades later. So it may be worth catching.

2 comments:

Mike Reino said...

I remember the miniseries with Jack Lemmon and Peter Gallagher years ago. Very sad affair. I would like to see it tonight, but with a house full of Yankee fans and one TV, it ain't happening. Hopefully it will re-air.

pluvlaw said...

Enjoy your championship, sir. (That steal by Damon was one of the headiest baseball plays I have seen in a long, long time).