The Leo Frank Case

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Leo Frank was a white, Jewish, superintendent of a pencil factory in Atlanta, Georgia where the body of Mary Phagan, one of the factories’ workers, was found. The murder of the thirteen year old girl prompted outrage in the city of Atlanta and around the country, and in a highly controversial trail, Leo Frank was quickly given the death sentence. Frank’s sentence would later be changed to life in prison, but while he was in a jail hospital, a mob broke in and lynched Frank on the outskirts of Mary Phagan’s hometown. The trial of Leo Frank is unique in both its ability to spark controversy up to the present day, and its ability to highlight the social tensions of America and Atlanta, one of the countries busiest cities. With a new progressive…show more content…
The Mt. Sterling Advocate highlighted these differing opinions and views by paraphrasing the Chicago Tribune as saying, “… The South is uneducated, unrefined, and a bunch of bad eggs generally.” The author of the Advocate article claims that several years before the lynching of Leo Frank, there was an incident of an “innocent negro being lynched in Springfield, Il.” The author claims that during this time, the South did not judge the North as a whole for this regrettable occurrence, but instead displayed that it truly was “educated, refined, and courteous.” He ends his article by saying that most of the North sympathizes with the South, but leaves a warning that, “‘Holier Than Thou’ editors do more harm than good.” Some northern papers like the Copper Era and Morenci Leader used mocking titles such as “Georgian Chivalry”, or more direct attacks such as “Influence of Racial Prejudice.” Other northern newspapers however responded to the call for rationality and fair treatment. Another Chicago newspaper, The Day Book, responds to the claims of Atlanta being a depraved city by writing, “Atlanta has had a change of heart. Atlanta once wanted Frank hanged. Atlanta now wants his life spared.” The author preempts the question on why the people…show more content…
Women’s suffrage was also being debated, and both sides used the lynching as a way to push their message across. Nathaniel Harris’ telegram claimed that many people in Georgia felt so passionately about the case, because men have always been stirred to protect women, as they are helpless. He argues in his telegram that part of a woman’s helplessness comes in her inability to vote, and that woman’s suffrage would loosen the “chivalric” duty that men felt towards women. The Copper Era and Morenci Leader makes fun of this idea of “chivalry” that the governor seems to possess about his state by pointing out that the age of consent in the state of Georgia is only ten years old, and eight year old girls are still allowed to work in factories. Dr. Anna Howard Shaw, president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, continues to ridicule Harris’ notion of chivalry by writing, “It is intolerable that in a crime of this description, an excuse for it should be sought in so-called chivalry for women.” Dr. Shaw also points out that 36.9 percent of Georgia’s work force is between the ages of ten and thirteen, and 20.7 percent of Georgia’s citizens above ten years old can not read. She then concludes her article by saying that if a state dominated by men’s laws can not protect the rights of its women and children, then that state desperately needs the woman’s

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