The Ghosts of Leo Frank: Reckoning With Georgia’s Most Infamous Murders 100 Years Later

The Ghosts of Leo Frank:

Reckoning With Georgia’s Most Infamous Murders 100 Years Later

Atlanta, Ga., August 12, 2015 – On Thursday, August 13, the Georgia Historical Society (GHS) will mark the 100th anniversary of the lynching of Leo Frank with a free public program featuring journalist Steve Oney and GHS Senior Historian Dr. Stan Deaton who holds the position of Dr. Elaine B. Andrews Historian at the Georgia Historical Society.  This program, The Ghosts of Leo Frank: Reckoning With Georgia’s Most Infamous Murders 100 Years Later, will explore the 1913 murder of Mary Phagan and the subsequent trial and lynching of Leo Frank in 1915, and why their stories still evoke such strong emotions a century later.

The program will be held at 8:00 p.m. at the Earl Smith Strand Theatre, 117 North Park Square, on Historic Marietta Square.  The program is free and open to the public.

The events surrounding the 1913 Murder of Mary Phagan and the conviction and lynching of Leo Frank are among the most notorious in Georgia history.  Steve Oney, author of And the Dead Shall Rise: The Murder of Mary Phagan and the Lynching of Leo Frank, will discuss the murder and trial as an historical event and talk about the people he met and the details surrounding the case that he uncovered during his more than two decades of research.

On April 26, 1913, Mary Phagan, a thirteen-year-old employee of the Atlanta Pencil Factory was brutally murdered following a trip to the factory to pick up her wages.  In the weeks and months that followed, factory manager Leo Frank, the last known person to see her alive, was arrested and tried for the crime based largely on circumstantial evidence.

The murder and trial made national headlines with larger-than-life personalities on both sides galvanizing entire communities to take sides regarding the guilt or innocence of Frank, and giving rise to the newly formed Anti-Defamation League as well as the modern-day Ku Klux Klan.

In his final days in office, Georgia Governor John Slaton, believing Frank had not received a fair trial, commuted Frank’s death sentence to life in prison.  This act ended his political career and ultimately ignited a mob to drive more than 100 miles to break Frank out of prison, and return with him to Marietta, where he was lynched. He is believed to be the only Jew lynched in American history.

For more information about the program “The Ghosts of Leo Frank” or to schedule an interview with Steve Oney or Stan Deaton please contact Patricia Meagher at 434-996-7085 or by email at



Georgia Historical Society (GHS) is the premier independent statewide institution responsible for collecting, examining, and teaching Georgia history. GHS houses the oldest and most distinguished collection of materials related exclusively to Georgia history in the nation.
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