Leo Frank

First jewish man hanged on U.S soil


Leo Frank was born April 17, 1884 in Cuero Texas.

1915 in racist America, Frank was a wealthy jewish man in charge of the National Pencil Company in Atlanta, Georgia.

Mary Phagan, 13 years old, was a employee of the National Pencil Company that Leo Frank was the superintendent at. Mary was found dead by the negro night watchmen, Newt Lee. She was found dead in the basement near the incinerator with a blackened and dirty face, a cord around her neck, and her skirt hiked around her waist. The immediate thought was that she had been raped.

Mary Phagan had gone earlier that day to Leo's office to pick up her last bit of pay since on April 21, she had been laid off. He was the last known person to see her alive.


Mary Phagan had apparently left a note that she had wrote during the time that she was being "victomized".

In the notes it said that a tall, slender black man had done the crime. The notes were soon believed to be placed as a distraction from the real murderer.

Jim Conely was the main witness that secured Frank's fate. He was a black man initially accused of the charge because of what the notes said. His testimoney against Frank was the key point in the trial.

Heads turned to Leo Frank when he was testified against with people saying that he had flirted with Mary earlier that day and that he had plied her with whisky.

Up to two hundred witnesses testified against Frank. Thats why it was a witch hunt because so many people wanted too add thier two cents to put a jewish man away when a majority of them had no actual evidence.

People of Atlanta, GA were racist, scared of jews, and when it came up as a possibility that a jewish man had commited this terrible crime, they were given a reason to show thier extreme racism towards jews and had no reason to believe that it could be anyone else, ensuring Frank's fate.


When the accused, Leo Frank, became the convicted, Atlanta, GA was outraged. A Jew had murdered a 13 year old young lady. This conviction fueled the fire of racism in GA during this time period. The public was out for revenge.

While Frank was being jailed, The Knights of Mary Phagan, came and kidnapped Frank at night, put a bag over his head and took him out to the country near where Phagan lived with her family at Frey's Gin. They had a site that had been prepared for a lynching with a rope and a table. They hung him in the tree and when they cut him down they kicked his face in.

Leo Frank could have very well been inocent but he never got a chance to prove so.

The names of the Knights of Mary Phagan were not released until the year 2000. Well after his death.

Society eventually figured out that this man was not given a fair chance at trial or at life. Trials became more evidence intensive, and not so much "he said, she said" based.

Connection To The Crucible

The connection between the Leo Frank trial and The Crucible is that both of these trials convicted people of wrong doings. Due to religious aspects or racial aspects. In The Crucible people feared anything against the bible connecting it back to the devil and then connecting it to people, which is what people used as a means of accusation. In Leo Frank's trial racial people were predjudice against other religions and saw Frank as a threat towards others. Therefore people acted in hysteria and accused of murder eventually leading to his death by lynching.


Aiuto Russel. "The Lynching of Leo FRank"- Little MAry Pahgan- Crime Library on Tru.Tv.com. Trutv n.d. Web. 18 Nov. 2013

"Leo FRank". Leo FRank. American Jewish Historical Society, 2012. 18 Nov. 2013

"Leo Frank Case" New Georgia Encyclopedia. Ed. NGA STAFF. New Georgia Encyclopedia, 11 Nov. 2013. Web. 19 Nov. 2013

Ravitz, Jessica. "Leo Frank Lynching" CNN. Cable News Network, 02 Nov. 2009. Web. 19 Nov. 2013

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