In Atlanta, Georgia, 1913, a Black janitor named James Conley accused a powerful Jewish leader named Leo Frank of raping and murdering a 13-year-old white girl, Mary Phagan. Frank, in turn, charged Conley with that heinous crime. Never before in a Southern courtroom had a Black man’s word been accepted as evidence against a white man’s, yet the white prosecutor, the white judge, and the all-white jury believed the Black man.
The Leo Frank case is considered the greatest single act of anti-Semitism in American history—a catastrophic miscarriage of justice that regenerated the Ku Klux Klan, launched the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, and birthed the modern Civil Rights Movement. Before the Leo Frank Affair, Jews treated Blacks as their slaves; after, Jews claimed they were the Black man’s “best friend.”
So who is Leo Frank?