Thursday, May 5, 2016

Leo Frank- From Fagin to Phagan

     I have long known about the most sad murder of Leo Frank. I just never knew the details. I recently visited the Museum of Jewish Heritage in NYC where there is an enlightening exhibit about Leo Frank.
     For those who are not familiar, Leo Frank (1884-1915) was born in Texas and raised in Brooklyn. He was Jewish. (duh). He was an engineer and ended up managing  a pencil factory in Atlanta Georgia where a gentile girl named Mary Phagan was murdered by a black man named Jim  Conley. Unfortunately the murder was pinned on Frank , due to anti-semitic judges and jury who went out for their way to convict Leo Frank  of a crime he did not do. The governor of Georgia Frank Slaton was appealed to . He realized that there were a lot of inconsistencies in the case and that Leo  Frank was innocent. He blocked the death sentence for Frank in favor of life imprisonment which would give time to eventually free him from prison. This did not happen. A lynch mob extracted him from jail and hung him. Frank is the only known Jewish man who was lynched in America. It is heart breaking. He  was 29 when he was arrested and 31 when he was murdered.
         The exhibit had the original newspapers that chronicled the case. It was chilling to  see  Leo Frank's handwriting.  Its hard to imagine such blatant anti-semitism . The exhibit also has  a short film with testimonies from relatives of Leo Frank as well as relatives of Mary Phagan who continue to blame her death on Leo Frank. Also included on video is Alonzo Mann, Leo Frank's then 14 year old office boy in 1986 testified that he saw Conley shortly after Pagan's murder carrying her to the basement of the office building at the time the murder wast to have taken place. This deposition by the anti defamation league formally  pardoned Frank posthumously of the murder of Phagan.
          I spent several hours reading through this exhibit. It is not so easy to do . It struck me just how young  Leo Frank looked at 29. Such a waste. It was TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD with a Jew.
Leo Frank
         If you don't know much about this grievous injustice, be sure and see this exhibit at the Museum of Jewish Heritage .
Leo Frank at nine

Leo Frank's baby shoes , rattle and picture
Leo Frank and sister Marion

Mary Phagan

Pencil factory 

Leo Frank's diploma

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