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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 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

: There is nothing simple about Marietta's most infamous story. Read the first in a three-part series on the case.

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.

Between Frank's conviction in 1913 and his lynching in 1915, a national pro-Frank media campaign met with a backlash of antisemitism.

Mark Cohen August 22, 2012 at 12:30 AM
"While no one knows for sure who killed Phagan, the evidence points toward the main witness against Frank, Jim Conley, rather than Frank himself." Just short of a century after the lynching of Leo Frank, the official Leo Frank Trial Brief of Evidence (1913) has been published on the Internet by the State of Georgia at one of her websites 'Georgia Virtual Vault'. The Georgia Supreme Court Case file on Leo Frank is now also available in high resolution images on CD from the Georgia State Archive. Perhaps you could share and elaborate upon the evidence that proves Jim Conley alone was guilty of murdering Mary Phagan and why Leo Frank should be exonerated, because the super vast majority of people here in Georgia (and the South) believe the witness testimony and evidence presented at the Leo Frank trial was more than sufficient to convict Leo Frank beyond a reasonable doubt. Moreover, every level of the United States Judicial System from 1913 to 1915, and 1982 to 1986, chose not to disturb the August 25, 1913, verdict of the jury. Available in microfilm at several major libraries across Georgia are all three of the major Atlanta newspaper (Constitution, Journal and Georgian), and they reported extensively on the Mary Phagan Murder Investigation, publishing the testimony at the Coroner's Inquest (Paul Donehoo) and Leo Frank Trial in 1913, perhaps you could draw on these sources as well to make your case.
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