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Frank Trial


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In September 1913 Leo Frank, the Jewish superintendent of a pencil factory in Atlanta, Georgia, was found guilty of the murder of a 13–year‐old female employee, Mary Phagan. His death sentence was commuted to one of life imprisonment by Georgia Governor John Slaton who expressed doubts about Frank's guilt. Slaton's decision was unpopular throughout Georgia, resulting in acts of anti‐Semitic public protest and vandalism. On 16 August 1915 a vigilante group belonging to the Ku Klux Klan removed Frank from his cell and, on the morning of the 17 August in front of a large crowd, hanged him from a tree until he died. New evidence emerged in 1982, and the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles posthumously pardoned Frank in 1986. The case evidenced the existence of anti‐Semitism in the judicial system and elements of the American public at large.

Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).


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