Alan Dershowitz’s Introduction to Dinnerstein’s The Leo Frank Case

Dershowitz

Introduction
By Alan M. Dershowitz

The trial, conviction, death sentence and its commutation and eventual lynching of Leo Frank during the second decade of the twentieth century, constitute a major episode not only in American legal history, but also in the development of American political institutions. The Knights of Mary Phagan, formed to avenge the murder of the young factory worker for which Frank was convicted, became an important component of the twentieth century resurrection of the Ku Klux Klan. The Anti-Defamation League of B’nai Brith was founded in reaction to the anti-Semitism generated – or at least disclosed – by the Frank case.

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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 LeoFrank.info

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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