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.