Milledgeville Prison Torn Down

From the media:

The Old State Prison Building at the Georgia State Prison Farm, built in 1911 in Milledgeville, GA and briefly the home of Leo Frank in 1915 before his kidnapping and subsequent lynching by an angry mob, was torn down starting late July. After not being used for several decades, and facing a $5 million bill just to stabilize the building for preservation, Baldwin County officials decided to tear down the building.

The twist to this story is that the county was not required to hold public hearings on the demolition, since the county was able to secure a contractor to tear down the building for free, except that the contractor got to keep the bricks from the building. As the county did not have to spend funds in the process, a hearing was not needed. Even a spot on the National Register of Historic Places was not enough to save the century-old building.




Reporters Needed at Leo Frank Marker Re-Dedication

THE LEO FRANK Case Research Library and others working for a balanced, truthful account of the Leo Frank case have a request for any of our readers and correspondents within driving distance of Marietta, Georgia: Please attend the re-dedication ceremony of the Leo Frank lynching marker tomorrow, Thursday, August 23, at 10 am. It would be good to arrive early, perhaps at 9 am, so any pre-ceremony activities can be reported on. Please take numerous photographs of all events, make audio and video recordings of all speeches, take extensive notes including the names of all speaking participants, and also share with us your overview and opinion of the goings-on. Afterward, contact us through the contact form on this page and we will arrange to receive your materials so that our point of view of the proceedings can be preserved and made a part of the historical record. Your job is to report only, and all laws should be strictly observed and obeyed at all times, of course.

Here’s an excerpt from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s take on tomorrow’s event:

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Audio Book – The Leo Frank Case: The Lynching of a Guilty Man, part 12

The New York Times published reams of blatant pro-Frank propaganda, such as this piece lionizing crooked detective William J. Burns.

by Philip St. Raymond
for The American Mercury

TO HEAR the attacks made on the character of James Conley — a major witness against Leo Frank when Frank was tried for murdering a 13-year-old girl in his employ, Mary Phagan — you could easily be forgiven for assuming that you were hearing a speech from a Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan instead of the words of B’nai B’rith-associated Frank and his defenders, so harsh were the racial attacks and epithets used against the Black man. Such was the race-baiting nature of the immense nationwide publicity campaign waged by Jewish advertising executive Albert Lasker and his willing “fake news” allies in the media, such as the New York Times‘ Jewish publisher Adolph Ochs.


In this, the twelfth audio segment of this ground-breaking work originally published by the Nation of Islam, part of their series called The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews, we also learn how that campaign ultimately failed — even according to Lasker, its chief — and ended up increasing dislike and resentment of powerful Jews for their outrageous interference in Georgia’s proper legal process of punishing a sex killer. We also learn that Lasker himself — one of America’s top advertising men, famous for his campaign that convinced millions of American women to start smoking cigarettes — had a strong dislike for Frank and suspected him of being a sex pervert, just as prosecution witnesses had said, but carried out his pro-Frank propaganda duties for the Jewish community nevertheless.

This new audio book, based on the Nation of Islam’s The Leo Frank Case: The Lynching of a Guilty Man, the best investigative effort made on the Leo Frank case in the last 100 years, will take you on a trip into the past — to the greatest American murder mystery of all time; a mystery that will reveal to you the hidden forces that shape our world even today.

To read all the chapters we’ve published so far, simply click on this link.

We at The American Mercury are now proud to present part 12 of our audio version of this very important book, read by Vanessa Neubauer.

Simply press “play” on the player embedded above — or at the end of this article — to hear part 12 of the book.

* * *

Click here to obtain a print or e-book copy of this important work, The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews, Vol. 3; The Leo Frank Case: The Lynching of a Guilty Man.

For further information on the Nation of Islam Historical Research Group, readers are encouraged to visit their Web site,


1961: National States Rights Party Weighs in on the Leo Frank Case

This article is transcribed from the February, 1961 issue of The Thunderbolt, the official newspaper of the White racialist and anti-Jewish National States Rights Party. Its editor was, and is today, Dr. Edward R. Fields. In the 1980s, Dr. Fields organized a Ku Klux Klan (KKK) march to Mary Phagan’s grave in remembrance of her and in protest of the Jewish groups who were working behind the scenes to get Leo Frank exonerated and pardoned from the years 1982-1986. As recently as 2015, Rabbi Steven Lebow petitioned to get the Georgia state government to exonerate Leo Frank of the murder of Mary Phagan.

Leo Frank Case and Today’s Jewish Rape of the South

A Christian Girl Murdered — A Jew Arrested — A Horrified, but Awakened Southland

Little 13 year old Mary Phagan was called the sweetest tempered, happiest and prettiest little girl at the Atlanta Baptist tabernacle where she attended church. Mary was the daughter of a hard working cotton mill hand, with a family of six children. It was April 26, 1913, Confederate Memorial Day. Mary awoke this bright holiday morning and eagerly looked forward to watching the gay patriotic march of the Confederate Veterans down Peachtree Street that afternoon. Mary had her usual breakfast of bread and cabbage (common of food afforded by the depressed White working class).

Mary was a victim of child labor violations which are today a crime. Child labor was common and tots 6 to 10 were to be found slaving away in Rothschild owned cotton mills. Mary was going to pick up her weeks pay ($1.20) at the National Pencil Co. on Forsyth Street before watching the parade. She dressed up in a pretty lavender dress and a large straw hat decorated with ribbons and flowers. Smiling with pride as she left her home, she carried her little silver mesh handbag, which was her greatest treasure. At 11:45 A.M. Mary caught the English Avenue trolley car which carried her downtown. George Epps, a 15 year old news boy acquaintance sat beside Mary. Mary started talking about her boss Leo Frank. She was afraid of Frank and wanted young Epps to escort her to the factory. It was a holiday and she didn’t want to be alone in the building with Frank. She told Epps that Frank would get her in a corner and make passes at her. Often he had smiled and winked at the little girl during working hours. Epps was late for his street corner job of selling the Atlanta Journal and told Mary he would see her later.

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Enright Archives Added to Leo Frank Case Research Library

LEOFRANK.INFO is pleased to announce that the full book, text, and newspaper archives formerly housed at Jack Enright’s Leo Frank Library site have been added to this, the online Leo Frank Case Research Library. We are deeply grateful for Mr. Enright’s assembling and saving this valuable material. Some of the documents from his site were not previously available here, and have at times been invaluable in our transcription and research work. All of this material very much deserves to be preserved for the scholars and readers of the future.

These new additions may be accessed by going to

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100 Reasons Leo Frank Is Guilty

Leo Frank smiles for the camera just one day after the body of Mary Phagan was discovered, Suspicion at that time was directed to his employee, the African-American night watchman Newt Lee.

Leo Frank smiles for the camera just one day after the body of Mary Phagan was discovered, Suspicion at that time was directed to his employee, the African-American night watchman Newt Lee.

Proving That Anti-Semitism Had Nothing to Do With His Conviction — and Proving That His Defenders Have Used Frauds and Hoaxes for 100 Years

by Bradford L. Huie
originally published at The American Mercury

MARY PHAGAN was just thirteen years old. She was a sweatshop laborer for Atlanta, Georgia’s National Pencil Company. A little over 100 years ago — Saturday, April 26, 1913 — little Mary was looking forward to the festivities of Confederate Memorial Day. She dressed gaily and planned to attend the parade. She had just come to collect her $1.20 pay from National Pencil Company superintendent Leo M. Frank at his office when she was attacked by an assailant who struck her down, ripped her undergarments, likely attempted to sexually abuse her, and then strangled her to death. Her body was dumped in the factory basement.

Leo Frank, who was the head of Atlanta’s B’nai B’rith, a Jewish fraternal order, was eventually convicted of the murder and sentenced to hang. After a concerted and lavishly financed campaign by the American Jewish community, Frank’s death sentence was commuted to life in prison by an outgoing governor. But he was snatched from his prison cell and hung by a lynching party consisting, in large part, of leading citizens outraged by the commutation order — and none of the lynchers were ever prosecuted or even indicted for their crime. One result of Frank’s trial and death was the founding of the still-powerful Anti-Defamation League.

Video version of this article:

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The 1955 Slaton Memorandum

slaton_john_retiredVery near the end of his life in 1955, former Georgia governor John Marshall Slaton (pictured) wrote this mistake-ridden memorandum justifying his decision to commute the sentence of Leo Frank from execution by hanging to life in prison, a decision which effectively ended his political career. It was found, unpublished, among his papers after his death. Slaton’s career ended because he was widely viewed as corrupt for having commuted the sentence of a man who was his own law firm’s client — Slaton being a partner in the firm that defended Frank at trial — and for bowing to a very well-funded worldwide Jewish campaign to exonerate Frank, a campaign which continues to this day.

The Frank Case

by John M. Slaton

I HAVE BEEN ASKED by so many persons to write out facts [sic] influencing me to act in the above case, which were not known to the general public, but which influenced me as Governor to grant a commutation of the sentence to death of Leo Frank. I did not go further than reduce the sentence from death to imprisonment for life. On [Confederate — Ed.] Memorial Day, the 26th day of April 1913, a girl, Mary Phagan, was murdered at the pencil factory in Atlanta, Georgia.

Leo Frank, an official of the pencil factory located on South Broad Street [sic — Actually, South Forsyth Street], Atlanta, Georgia, was arrested and charged with the murder. This charge was made some days after the committing of the crime.

One Jim Conley, a negro employed at the factory, was arrested and charged with the crime.

Two pages of a letter were attached to the body of the dead girl. Conley was arrested and charged with the offense.

He first stated that he could not write and there was produced a signature at a pawn-shop. He then admitted he could write his name, but that was all.

A further reproduction of his handwriting was produced and he admitted that he did write the first page of the letter, but not the second page.

Upon being shown that the letter was continuous and the second page must have been written by the one who wrote the first page, he admitted that he wrote the second page, but said he wrote it at a different time from that at which he wrote the first page. Leo Frank was a Jewish gentleman who had graduated at a Northern College, Cornell at Ithaca, New York, and when the case came on for trial numerous class-mates of Frank testified as to his good character.

There was immense excitement on account of the trial of the case. There was immense prejudice created as to racial differences and politics played a very large part in the formation of public opinion. Mr. Thomas E. Watson published a paper which had circulation over the entire State and was known as the “Jeffersonian.” He strongly urged in his paper that Frank was guilty. Shortly before this at Augusta, Georgia, a man walked into a textile mill and shot down a woman and having shot her down fired three more bullets into her body. A revenge for her refusal to marry him. He was tried and sentenced to death. Watson was offered $2,000.00 to have his sentence commuted to life imprisonment. Governor Hoke Smith declined to grant the commutation, and the Atlanta Journal supported him in his refusal.

Mr. Watson was elected United States Senator largely upon my action in the Frank case. I am informed by those who are associated with him that he never mentioned my name, nor the Frank case.

The Atlanta Journal advocated the commutation of Frank and this caused Watson to turn his attacks on the Governor and on The Atlanta Journal, and he seized the Frank case as the means by which he would direct vengeance because of their preventing the commutation of the man who killed the woman at Augusta.

Mr. Watson sent Dr. Jaragan [actually Jarnagin — Ed.] to see me as Governor with the message that if I would let the Jew hang, he would elect me as United States Senator from Georgia, and make me master in National Politics in Georgia for “twenty years to come”. I believe he published in his paper that he made this statement and had sent Dr. Jarnigan [Jarnagin — Ed.] as a messenger to carry this promise.

As to the committing of the crime itself, immense excitement was created in Atlanta and in Cobb County, from which Miss Mary Phagan came. The Court House was crowded and reporters from the Press took their seats at nearby windows so that they would have means of escape if the Jury found Frank not guilty. After the conviction of Frank, the following events with which the Public was not informed were as follows:

Mr. John A. Boykin wrote a letter in regard to the commutation and was elected Solicitor-General for many years succeeding the trial. He stated in the letter that the Attorney for Jim Conley said to him that he knew that Jim Conley committed the offense, but could not disclose it because he was his Attorney and he only hoped to save his life. The fight was made on Mr. Boykin as Solicitor-General by E. T. Williams, and Mr. Boykin carried every precinct in the County with the exception of one.

Mr. Will Smith became so angry with the City of Atlanta at its attitude towards Frank that he moved to New York. He told Mr. Tuggle, a policeman, who controlled the traffic at the corner of Broad and Marietta Streets, what he had induced Mr. Boykin to say to me.

The daughter of Mr. Will Smith wrote an article entitled “Why Frank Could Not Have Been Guilty”, which article was sent me by her father, and which I have.

One of the three Prison Board members, Mr. Patterson, wrote me that he knew as far as human knowledge could go, that Frank was innocent.

Col. P. H. Brewster, one of the leaders of the Bar of Georgia, wrote me entreating that I should grant a commutation, since he was acquainted with all the facts being a partner of Mr. Hugh M. Dorsey, Solicitor-General at the time, and from the facts as he learned them at the office, Frank was innocent and Col. Brewster upon being asked by me what I should do with his letter answered, “Publish it, it is the truth.” One other Board of the Prison Commissioners said that he would have nothing to do with the matter since that was the Governor’s responsibility, and he did not propose to interfere to his own personal detriment.

Dr. Bates Block asked me if I knew Dr. Wainwright of New York, a leading Cancer Specialist, under whose care Judge Roan who tried the case was subject. I told him no, and Dr. Block said I noticed in talking to him that you would be interested in seeing Dr. Wainwright, which I did the next time I went to New York.

Dr. Wainwright said to me when I took lunch with him in New York, that Judge Roan said I did what he should have done and he was worried more about the Frank case than anything else.

Judge Roan had charged the Jury incorrectly. Judge Ben Hill, who had to pass on extra-ordinary motions for new trials, told me the whole evidence against Leo Frank was circumstantial. The law is that where the evidence is circumstantial in a murder case, it is the prerogative of the Judge to put the penalty at life imprisonment, instead of death, but Judge Roan charged the Jury that he was compelled to impose the death penalty unless the Jury recommended mercy.

Mr. Frank Myers, Deputy Clerk of the Court, told me that Judge Roan told him in the gentleman’s restroom, that if Charlie Hill was [sic] Solicitor-General, he would ask the Jury to find a verdict of not guilty. Mr. Tuggle who was a prison-keeper at the Station House told me if he had been left for a few days longer in charge of the prisoners he was convinced from the way Jim Conley talked, that Conley would have admitted committing the offense, but the Chief of Detectives said that he didn’t care anything about convicting a negro for the murder. That, of course, was the usual course of events, but it would be a feather in his cap if he could convict a white man and a Jew.

Not only that when the case went to the Supreme Court of Georgia, Chief Justice W. H. Fish, and Judge Marcus W. Beck, Associate Chief Justice, both dissented and said Frank did not have a fair trial and wrote powerful dissents. Not only did the case go to the Supreme Court of the United States, but Charles E. Hughes who afterwards became Chief Justice, and Judge Oliver Wendel [sic] Holmes dissented and would have discharged Frank on habeas corpus petition [sic]. A few years later when five negroes from Arkansas were sentenced to be hanged, the Supreme Court of the United States sustained the Writ of Certiorari and freed the negroes, Justice McReynolds declared in his dissenting opinion in the case of Moore against Dempsey, 261 U.S.-Page 93, as follows:

In Frank vs. Mangum 237 U.S.-309, 325, 326, 327, 329, 335, after great consideration a majority of this Court approved the doctrine which should be applied here. The doctrine is right and wholesome. I cannot agree now to put it aside and substitute the views expressed by the majority of the Court in that cause.

Justice McReynolds entered into an extensive quotation of the Frank case with Justice Sutherland on the reversal by the Supreme Court of the Frank case.

The case of the negroes was one in which it was held by the Supreme Court of the United States that it was the trial by mob law.

If the Supreme Court of the United States had been constituted at the time it decided the Frank case as it was when it decided the five cases from Arkansas, the decision in the Frank case would have been reversed. All that I did was to lessen the penalty from death to life imprisonment for life. It would have been given a cooling down in which the proper authorities would have investigated the matter, and would have decided whether Frank was really guilty or not.

We have in Georgia a case more like the Frank case in which Governor W. Y. Atkinson issued an unconditional pardon under these circumstances. A negro was charged with the rape of a white woman at the corner of Trinity Avenue and Central Avenue. When the case was tried, he was convicted. The case then went to the Supreme Court [of Georgia] and the Supreme Court said in the decision of Judge Lumpkin, 97th Ga., pp. 180, “After referring to the discrepancies in the evidence that they were almost tempted to grant a new trial on the ground of lack of evidence, but since two juries had found the negro guilty, he would send him to his doom.” Upon this decision being called to the attention of Governor W. Y. Atkinson, Governor Atkinson immediately upon seeing the opinion of the Supreme Court granted an unconditional pardon.

The Bar of the State became interested in this case and action of the Governor. The Georgia Bar Association thereupon elected me President of the State Bar Association, and the Supreme Court appointed me on November 11, 1925 Chairman of the Georgia Board of Law Examiners, which position I occupied until February 11, 1954, being 28 years [He evidently means years in office — Ed.] when I resigned.

Judge H. M. Dorsey, who was Solicitor-General, was afterwards appointed Judge. I tried many cases before him and he proved an honest and capable Judge, and I supported him.

The foregoing states generally the questions that came before me as Governor on the matter of clemency. I have stated generally the facts and they forced me to take the action I did. The Defendant being a negro, as was the case with Governor W. Y. Atkinson, or had he been a Chinaman, or a member of any other race whatever, I should have done the same thing.

Dreyfus was called on the drilling grounds in France and the medals and other testimonials of honor were torn from his uniform and he was sent to Devil’s Island where he remained five years.

At the end of that time it was discovered that he was convicted on the testimony of Count Esterhazy, who admitted he committed perjury. Thereupon, Dreyfus was granted an unconditional pardon and was brought back on the drilling grounds and all his honors restored to him. It was solely a matter of justice. I write the above and a statement of the facts as they came to me and I was compelled to do the same thing and had the only alternative been with me to grant an unconditional, or an absolute pardon, I should have granted an absolute pardon. The effect of this action upon my future career was a matter of no consequence. Had I done otherwise, I should have been haunted the remainder of my life, which would have been very short, with the conviction that I committed a murder. The above facts had they been known to the people of Georgia would have led them to a different opinion. Numerous other facts relating to what has been written came to my attention, but it is unnecessary to narrate them. I was aware that a large proportion of the people of the State were against my decision, but I had the firm belief that when they knew what the facts were they would approve what I did.

The last I heard of Jim Conley, there were several burglaries committed in West End, in the City of Atlanta, and the Police advised the owner of the store to shoot whomsoever should break into his store. The owner of the store followed the advice and he did shoot Jim Conley who was prosecuted for burglary in the Fulton Superior Court of Fulton County. He was convicted before Judge Humphrey and when asked what he had to say, he simply laughed, and he was sent up for twenty years for the offense of burglary. After he had served fifteen years he was released by the Board of Pardon Commission, because of his good conduct. This was the last I heard from him, but I understand he has since died.

I have stated in the foregoing the main facts dealing with the Frank case. I did what my sense of justice and my conscience demanded that I do. The effect of my action upon my political future was not a matter to which I paid any attention, and I did my duty under the facts as presented to me, and that was all that was required of me. I practiced law in Atlanta with a clear conscience, and I would not have changed my action. The case was finished as to me, when I signed the order granting the commutation.

[end of document]

Governor Slaton’s Leo Frank Commutation Order: Full Text

commutation_signature2The following is the full text of outgoing Governor John Slaton’s decision to commute Leo Frank’s sentence from death to life in prison. Slaton was widely regarded as corrupt for having made this decision under significant Jewish pressure in the last few days of his administration, and because he was a partner in the law firm that defended Frank. This document is also available as a photographic reproduction. In a future article, we will analyze this document in detail.

Governor Slaton’s Commutation Decision (full text)

June 21st, 1915.

In Re Leo M. Frank, Fulton Superior Court. Sentenced to be executed, June 22nd, 1915.

Saturday April 26th, was Memorial Day in Georgia and a general holiday. At that time Mary Phagan, a white girl, of about 14 years of age, was in the employ of the National Pencil Company located near the corner of Forsyth & Hunter Sts in the city of Atlanta. She came to the Pencil Factory a little after noon to obtain the money due her for her work on the preceding Monday, and Leo M. Frank, the defendant, paid her $1.20, the amount due her and this was the last time she was seen alive. Continue Reading →

The Leo Frank Trial: Closing Arguments, Solicitor Dorsey

Hugh-Dorsey-340x264Originally published by the American Mercury on the 100th anniversary of the Leo Frank trial.

by Bradford L. Huie

THE AMERICAN MERCURY now presents the final closing arguments by Solicitor Hugh Dorsey (pictured) in the trial of Leo Frank for the murder of Mary Phagan — a powerful summary of the case and a persuasive argument that played a large part in the decision of the jury to find Frank guilty of the crime. It is also riveting reading for modern readers, who have been told — quite falsely — that the case against Frank was a weak one, and told, equally falsely, that “anti-Semitism” was a major motive for the arrest, trial, and conviction of Frank.

Here we present it for the first time on any popular periodical’s Web site. Not until the Mercury began its efforts have these or the other arguments in this case and relevant contemporary articles been presented on a popular Web site in correctly formatted, easy-to-read type with OCR errors removed.  (For background on this case, read our introductory article, our coverage of Week One,  Week Two, Week Three and Week Four of the trial, and my exclusive summary of the evidence against Frank.)



Mr. Dorsey:

Gentlemen of the Jury: This case is not only, as His Honor has told you, important, but it is extraordinary. It is extraordinary as a crime — a most heinous crime, a crime of a demoniac, a crime that has demanded vigorous, earnest and conscientious effort on the part of your detectives, and which demands honest, earnest, conscientious consideration on your part. It is extraordinary because of the prominence, learning, ability, standing of counsel pitted against me. It is extraordinary because of the defendant — it is extraordinary in the manner in which the gentlemen argue it, in the methods they have pursued in its management. Continue Reading →

The Leo Frank Trial: Closing Arguments of Hooper, Arnold, and Rosser


Originally published by the American Mercury on the 100th anniversary of the Leo Frank trial.

The American Mercury continues its centenary coverage of the trial of Leo Frank for the slaying of Mary Phagan with the closing arguments presented by the prosecution and defense.

by Bradford L. Huie

IT’S A LONG READ — but an essential one for everyone who wants to consider himself well-informed on the Leo Frank case: the closing arguments from indefatigable Fulton County Prosecutor Hugh Dorsey and his assistant Frank Hooper, and from Leo Frank’s brilliantly skilled defense attorneys Reuben Arnold and Luther Rosser. Continue Reading →

100 Years Ago Today: Leo Frank Takes the Stand

Leo-Frank-on-the-Witness-StandOriginally published by the American Mercury on the 100th anniversary of the Leo Frank trial.

In a few days the Mercury will present Week Three of the trial of Leo Frank for the murder of Mary Phagan. Today, on the 100th anniversary of Leo Frank taking the stand in his own defense, we present a digest of opinion and contemporary sources on his statement.

AT THE CLIMAX of the Leo Frank trial, an admission was made by the defendant that amounted to a confession during trial. How many times in the annals of US legal history has this happened? Something very unusual happened during the month-long People v. Leo M. Frank murder trial, held within Georgia’s Fulton County Superior Courthouse in the Summer of 1913. I’m going to show you evidence that Mr. Leo Max Frank inadvertently revealed the solution to the Mary Phagan murder mystery.

Leo Frank

Leo Frank

In addition to being an executive of Atlanta’s National Pencil Company, Leo Frank was also a B’nai B’rith official — president of the 500-member Gate City Lodge in 1912 — and even after his conviction and incarceration Frank was elected lodge president again in 1913. As a direct result of the Leo Frank conviction, the B’nai B’rith founded their well-known and politically powerful “Anti-Defamation League,” or ADL. Continue Reading →

Leo Frank Trial: Week Four

Leo-Frank-closeup-340x264Originally published by the American Mercury on the 100th anniversary of the Leo Frank trial.

Join The American Mercury as we recount the events of the final week of the trial of Leo Frank (pictured) for the slaying of Mary Phagan.

by Bradford L. Huie

ON THE HEELS of Leo Frank’s astounding unsworn statement to the court, the defense called a number of women who stated that they had never experienced any improper sexual advances on the part of Frank. But the prosecution rebutted that testimony with several rather persuasive female witnesses of its own. These rebuttal witnesses also addressed Frank’s claims that he was so unfamiliar with Mary Phagan that he did not even know her by name. (For background on this case, read our introductory article, our coverage of Week One,  Week Two, and Week Three of the trial, and my exclusive summary of the evidence against Frank.)

Here are the witnesses’ statements, direct from the Brief of Evidence, interspersed with my commentary. The emphasis and paragraphing (for clarity) is mine. The defense recommenced with a large contingent of Frank’s friends, business associates, and employees who would say that Leo Frank was of good character and had not, to their knowledge, made any improper sexual approaches to the girls and women who worked under him: Continue Reading →

The Leo Frank Trial: Week Three

Leo-Frank-suit-portrait_crop-340x264Originally published by the American Mercury on the 100th anniversary of the Leo Frank trial.

The trial of Leo Frank (pictured) for the murder of Mary Phagan ended its third week 100 years ago today. Join us as we break through the myths surrounding the case and investigate what really happened.

by Bradford L. Huie

AS THE THIRD WEEK of the trial dawned, the prosecution had just made its case that National Pencil Company Superintendent Leo Max Frank had murdered 13-year-old laborer Mary Phagan — and a powerful case it was. Now it was the defense’s turn — and the defense team was a formidable one, the best that money could buy in 1913 Atlanta, led by Reuben Arnold and Luther Rosser. And many would argue that the city’s well-known promoter and attorney Thomas B. Felder was also secretly working for Frank and his friends, along with the two biggest detective agencies in the United States, the Burns agency — sub rosa, under the direction of Felder — and the Pinkertons — openly, cooperating with the police, and under the direction of the National Pencil Company. (For background on this case, read our introductory article, our coverage of Week One and Week Two of the trial, and my exclusive summary of the evidence against Frank.)

As the defense began its parade of witnesses, few suspected that the defendant himself, Leo Frank, would soon take the stand and make an admission so astonishing that it strained belief. Continue Reading →

The Leo Frank Trial: Week Two

jim-conley-340x264Originally published by the American Mercury on the 100th anniversary of the Leo Frank trial.

The trial of Leo Frank for the murder of Mary Phagan ended its second week 100 years ago today. Join us as we delve into the original documents of the time and learn what the jurors learned.

by Bradford L. Huie

THE EVIDENCE that National Pencil Company Superintendent Leo Frank had murdered 13-year-old child laborer Mary Phagan was mounting up as the second week of Frank’s trial began in Atlanta, and passions were high on both sides as star witness Jim Conley (pictured) took the stand.

The attempt to frame the innocent black  night watchman, Newt Lee, had failed, despite 1) the “death notes” left near the body implicating him, 2) the bloody shirt planted in his trash barrel, and 3) the forged time card supposedly showing that he had left his post for several hours the night the murder was discovered. Although no one of significance suspected Lee at this point, the defense would still try to attack the medical testimony that placed the murder near midday on April 26, and would introduce Lee’s second alleged time card, provided by Frank, purporting to show that Lee had many hours unaccounted for on the night of the 26th and the early morning hours of the 27th of April.

Newt Lee’s testimony of Frank’s peculiar behavior that afternoon and evening was compelling. Another African-American was about to become pivotal in this case: factory sweeper Jim Conley would testify that he had helped Frank by keeping watch while Frank “chatted” with Mary alone in his office, and by assisting Frank in moving her body to the basement after she was accidentally killed. Conley was about to become central to the defense’s case, too — they would allege that Conley was the real killer. (For background on this case, read our introductory article, our coverage of Week One of the trial, and my exclusive summary of the evidence against Frank.) Continue Reading →

The Leo Frank Trial: Week One


Originally published by the American Mercury on the 100th anniversary of the Leo Frank trial.

100 years ago today the trial of the 20th century ended its first week, shedding brilliant light on the greatest murder mystery of all time: the murder of Mary Phagan. And you are there.

by Bradford L. Huie

THE MOST IMPORTANT testimony in the first week of the trial of National Pencil Company superintendent Leo Frank for the murder of Mary Phagan was that of the night watchman, Newt Lee (pictured, right, in custody), who had discovered 13-year-old Mary’s body in the basement of the pencil factory during his nightly rounds in the early morning darkness of April 27, 1913. Here at the Mercury we are following the events of this history-making trial as they unfolded exactly 100 years ago. We are fortunate indeed that Lee’s entire testimony has survived as part of the Leo Frank Trial Brief of Evidence, certified as accurate by both the defense and the prosecution during the appeal process. (For background on this case, read our introductory article and my exclusive summary of the evidence against Frank.) Continue Reading →

100 Years Ago Today: The Trial of Leo Frank Begins


Originally published by the American Mercury on the 100th anniversary of the Leo Frank trial.

Take a journey through time with the American Mercury, and experience the trial of Leo Frank (pictured, in courtroom sketch) for the murder of Mary Phagan just as it happened as revealed in contemporary accounts. The Mercury will be covering this historic trial in capsule form from now until August 26, the 100th anniversary of the rendering of the verdict.

by Bradford L. Huie

THE JEWISH ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE (ADL) — in great contrast to the American Mercury and other independent media — has given hardly any publicity to the 100th anniversary of the murder of Mary Phagan and the arrest and trial of Leo Frank, despite the fact that these events eventually led to the foundation of the ADL. Probably the League is saving its PR blitz for 1915, not only because that is centenary of Leo Frank’s death by lynching (an event possibly of much greater interest to the League’s wealthy donors than the death of Mary Phagan, a mere Gentile factory girl), but also because encouraging the public to read about Frank’s trial might not be good for the ADL — it might well lead to doubts about the received narrative, which posits an obviously innocent Frank persecuted by anti-Semitic Southerners looking for a Jewish scapegoat.

For readers not familiar with the case, a good place to start is Scott Aaron’s summary of the crime, from his The Murder of Mary Phagan and the Lynching of Leo Frank, which states in part:

“ON SATURDAY morning at 11:30, April 26, 1913 Mary Phagan ate a poor girl’s lunch of bread and boiled cabbage and said goodbye to her mother for the last time. Dressed for parade-watching (for this was Confederate Memorial Day) in a lavender dress, ribbon-bedecked hat, and parasol, she left her home in hardscrabble working-class Bellwood at 11:45, and caught the streetcar for downtown Atlanta.

“Before the festivities, though, she stopped to see Superintendent Leo M. Frank at the National Pencil Company and pick up from him her $1.20 pay for the one day she had worked there during the previous week….

“Almost no one knew it at the time, but by one o’clock one young life was already over. For her there would never again be parades, or music, or kisses, or flowers, or children, or love. Mary Phagan never left the National Pencil Company alive. Abused, beaten, and strangled by a rough cord pulled so tightly that it had embedded itself deeply in her girlish neck and made her tongue protrude more than an inch from her mouth, Mary Phagan lay dead, dumped in the dirt and shavings of the pencil company basement, her once-bright eyes now sightless and still as she lay before the gaping maw of the furnace where the factory trash was burned.”

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Three Strangling Deaths: Why I Chose to Write About the Leo Frank Case

A newly-discovered photograph of Mary Phagan

Mary Phagan

by Scott Aaron

IT MAY WELL BE the greatest murder mystery of all time. Some assert that the Mary Phagan murder case is solved, but those who so assert are of two different and mutually exclusive camps. And those two camps still stand diametrically opposed to this day, four generations later. The case aroused the outrage and ire and vengeance of two great communities. One, the Jewish community, feel overwhelmingly today, and felt to a lesser but still substantial extent in 1913, that Leo Frank was tried and condemned simply because he was a Jew. They believe that Leo Frank is so obviously innocent that he never would have been tried had it not been for endemic anti-Semitism in 1913 Atlanta. And they have been remarkably effective in making  Southern anti-Semitism the leitmotif of virtually all drama, documentary, and other remembrance of this case for the last half century. The other, the largely Christian Southern gentile community, believed overwhelmingly in 1913 — and to an unknown but doubtlessly  large degree still believes today — that justice was done when all the jurors, and every appeal court in the land including the Supreme Court of the United States, after a monumental and impressively-funded defense, agreed that Leo Frank was fairly tried and convicted for the murder of Mary Phagan. And it must rankle Southerners almost beyond words to be accused of anti-Semitism, when no Christian community anywhere on earth has so respected and welcomed Jews, has so openly acknowledged its spiritual roots in Judaism, or has so enthusiastically supported the Jewish state of Israel. Continue Reading →

Christianity, Anti-Semitism, and the American South: Background to the Leo Frank Case

marietta_churchby Scott Aaron
and the editors of

GEORGIA, as a part of the South, is a place where, though freethinkers are certainly not unknown, the vast majority of the population is deeply committed to Christianity — largely Protestant, fundamentalist Christianity. One’s personal “walk with Jesus” is taken very seriously here, and the religion informs almost every aspect of private, family, and public life. The fundamentalist worldview is dominant, as it is throughout the South, which, along with a few border states, is not called the “Bible Belt” for nothing. This was doubly true in 1913.

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The Crime: Mary Phagan’s Death by Strangling

Mary_Phaganby Scott Aaron
and the editors of

ON SATURDAY morning at 11:30AM, April 26, 1913 Mary Phagan (pictured) ate a poor girl’s lunch of bread and boiled cabbage and said goodbye to her mother for the last time. Dressed for parade-watching (for this was Confederate Memorial Day) in a lavender dress, ribbon-bedecked hat, and parasol, she left her home in hardscrabble working-class Bellwood at 11:45, and caught the streetcar for downtown Atlanta.

Before the festivities, though, she stopped to see Superintendent Leo M. Frank at the National Pencil Company and pick up from him her $1.20 pay for the one day she had worked there during the previous week. She had been laid off for most of that week because the material needed for the tipping department in the metal room, where she worked, had been late in arriving. Continue Reading →

Jews Use Leo Frank As Excuse to Impose New “Hate” Laws

adl-national-campaignMisnamed “Anti-Defamation League” wants harsh penalties for alleged “crimes motivated by hate” to intimidate White resistance to genocide.

THE Anti-Defamation League (ADL) announced recently the formation of a new campaign to improve legal response to hate crimes across the United States. (ILLUSTRATION: Rep. John Lewis and Jonathan Greenblatt)

The announcement came during an event in Atlanta, Georgia, with U.S. Rep. John Lewis, as the ADL unveiled its 50 States Against Hate initiative.  The “Initiative for Stronger Hate Crime Laws” will work toward the passage of hate crime laws in the five states which do not have them — Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, South Carolina and Wyoming — while simultaneously seeking to make existing hate crime laws in the other 45 states more inclusive and comprehensive.

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