Dr. John E. White Writes on the Phagan Case

Dr John E White on Phagan Case

Dr. John E. White

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

Atlanta Georgian

Sunday, May 4th, 1913

Draws a Lesson From the Shocking Occurrence of a Week Ago, and Urges Confidence in the Courage of the Law.


Pastor of the Second Baptist Church of Atlanta.

The proper study of mankind is man, but the conditions for this study are only occasionally favorable. Dressed up in his everyday clothes, thinking his ordinary thoughts, and his human impulses suppressed to the requirements of conventional life, a man throws very little light on the problem of humanity. The individual exhibits mankind neither at its best nor at its worst, and never at its deepest. The interesting things about folks are not the things that individualize and separate them in one mass. Therefore to obtain insight into humanity you must catch it off its guard and in the sway of some profound spirit of unity.

Whenever something occurs to startle, alarm or even amuse a whole community at a stroke, there is the opportunity to study and understand human nature. The artist with his picture, the poet with his poem and the author with his book are each in his way striving to express emotions and awaken sentiments which belonged to all men—the chord of human nature that sounds a universal note. It often happens that a shocking event, a disaster or a horrible murder, affords the supremely favorable situation for understanding one’s self and others, and for realizing the problems presented to society. Continue Reading →