Neighbors of Slain Girl Cry for Vengeance

Neighbors of Slain Girl Cry For VengeanceAnother in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.

Atlanta Georgian

Monday, April 28th, 1913

Slaying of Mary Phagan Arouses Friends of Family to Threats of Violence.

“I wouldn’t have liked to be held responsible for the fate of the murderer of little Mary Phagan if the men in this neighborhood had got hold of him last night,” was the statement to-day of George W. Epps, 246 Fox Street, whose home adjoins that of Mrs. Coleman, mother of the slain girl.

By to-day the first hot wave of indignation that cried for the blood of the criminal had had time to subside, but the feeling still ran high in the neighborhood of the Coleman home.

The murder was the sole topic of conversation. Men who knew the family and others who had seen Mary go to her work in the morning congregated in excited groups on the street corners. At first they were not willing that the law should take its course. They feared that the murderer, if he were caught, might in some way escape the consequences of his crime.

Sympathy for Stricken Mother.

In the homes of the shocked community the women talked in hushed tones of the tragic end of Mary Phagan. Might not their own innocent little girls be in danger of the same fate? Was it safe to permit them to go alone about the city, even in the light of broad day? They were filled with gratitude that it was not any one of their homes on which the pall of the great tragedy had fallen, but their hearts went out in sympathy for the stricken mother.

Some of them were with their husbands in the first cry for vengeance that went up when the news of the crime was brought to the neighborhood. They saw the imminent danger hovering over the childhood of the city. They saw the peril of their own little ones. The author of the black crime must be punished as he deserved, and at once, they insisted.

To-day they are saying that the young working girls of the city are considered the rightful prey of the beasts in men’s clothes that go about the city.

Tragedy Comes Home to Them.

“We are all working people out here,” said Mr. Epps, who was standing in a group of his neighbors. “In half the homes the boys and girls do what they can to help in the support of the family. This means that our children are not safe on the streets, even in the daytime.

“The tragedy comes home to us all, for we are all in a little community here. It is a little village in itself, and every one knows every one else. It was a hard blow to us when we learned the terrible story of Mary Phagan’s death. Hardly a one of us but knew the little girl, at least by sight.

“The men here were aflame with indignation last night. It would have gone hard with the murderer of the little girl if they could have got their hands on him.”

* * *

Atlanta Georgian, April 28th 1913, “Neighbors of Slain Girl Cry for Vengeance,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)