The Leo Frank Case The Lynching of a Guilty Man, part 7

Published on May 17, 2021
WE HEAR A LOT today about people “playing the race card” — using race unjustly in a dispute, or as a moral bludgeon to obscure the facts. In 1913 Atlanta, the Leo Frank defense team played the race card — and in a very big way. Interestingly, the pro-Frank forces used race in a way that most people would find grossly unacceptable today: crudely attacking prosecution witness James Conley, a black man, in open court and on the record as a “dirty,” “lying,” “thieving” “n**ger” — and characterizing the sex killing of Mary Phagan as a “Negro crime” of which “white man” Leo Frank, president of the Atlanta B’nai B’rith, would be — they insinuated — “incapable.”

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