People’s Cry for Justice Is Proof Sentiment Still Lives

Another in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.

Atlanta Georgian
August 12th, 1913


There is as much sentiment in the world to-day as there was in 1861 or 1776 or 1492 or 1066 or any other date that may come to your recollection.

It’s not fashionable to say so, but it’s true. People to-day are too prone to accuse themselves and their neighbors of being worshippers Mammom and declaring that the money-grubbing instinct has crushed out sentiment, patriotism and honesty.

But right now in Atlanta, there is a striking example of the goodness that is man’s to-day, just as much as it has ever been.

It is the one bright spot in the hideous slaying of Mary Phagan and the terrors of the trial of Leo Frank.

More people are interested in the case probably than in any criminal action the South has ever known. They are thrilled by it, for they knew that the officers of the law and the Government of the State are spending thousands of dollars to find the man guilty of her murder and punish him.

Had Mary Phagan been of a prominent house, had she been wealthy, had her family or friends been influential there would be no room for comment.

The cynic could say, “Oh, she was a rich girl, what chance would there be for a child of the masses?”
But the Phagan case gives this the lie.

Mary Phagan’s family is not wealthy. It is not prominent. It is not influential.

And still the great public has arisen with a demand that can be heard the length and breadth of the nation that her slayer be found and punished.

Had Mary Phagan been a princess of Peachtree instead of just a little Atlanta girl—as good as she was pretty—who had to struggle to make her living, the sentiment would not have been half so fervid.

The sympathy that has gone out to her and her family is a lasting proof of Atlanta’s and the South’s democracy.

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Atlanta Georgian, August 12th 1913, “People’s Cry for Justice Is Proof Sentiment Still Lives,” Leo Frank case newspaper article series (Original PDF)