Leo Frank 97th Lynching Anniversary
At sunrise on Aug. 17, 1915, a crowd in Marietta gathered around Leo Frank's body, hanging from a tree on the property of former sheriff William Frey.
Friday is the 97th anniversary of the lynching of Leo Frank after he was abducted from the state prison in Milledgeville and driven overnight. At sunrise on Aug. 17, 1915, a crowd in Marietta gathered around his body, hanging from a tree on the property of former sheriff William Frey.
A hard-to-spot historical marker stands on the spot along Roswell Road just west of the Interstate 75 overpass.
It’s the only known instance in American history of a Jew being lynched, and it was carried out with the involvement of some of Marietta’s leading citizens in revenge for the murder of 13-year-old Mary Phagan in 1913.
Frank was convicted of the murder. While no one knows for sure who killed Phagan, the evidence points toward the main witness against Frank, Jim Conley, rather than Frank himself.
More on Leo Frank
The Troubling Case of Leo M. Frank: There is nothing simple about Marietta's most infamous story. Read the first in a three-part series on the case.
The Trial of Leo M. Frank: While anti-Semitism played a role in the lynching of Leo Frank, it does not appear to have been a factor in his trial. Read part two in a three-part story.
The Battle for Leo Frank: Between Frank's conviction in 1913 and his lynching in 1915, a national pro-Frank media campaign met with a backlash of antisemitism.