Billboard Touts Innocence; Phagan Family Says ‘Move On’
Many now know that Frank is guilty and oppose exonerating Frank, due to the efforts of National Alliance members and others fighting for truth
THE LATEST SALVO in the century-long saga over Leo Frank’s guilt or innocence was fired on Monday when a digital billboard went live at the intersection of Upper Roswell Road and Sewell Mill Road in east Cobb. It features a photo of Frank and reads “Leo Frank Was Innocent” and adds details about the upcoming 2 p.m. service Aug. 16 at Temple Kol Emeth.
“It will be seen by tens of thousands as they drive by on the first week of school,” Rabbi Steve Lebow (pictured) told Around Town late Monday afternoon.
The Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles issued a posthumous pardon to Frank in 1986 for the 1913 murder of Mary Phagan, based on the state’s failure to protect him while in its custody and “as an effort to heal old wounds.”
But those “old wounds” haven’t done much healing in the years since then. And the upcoming 100th anniversary of the Aug. 17, 1915, lynching of Frank in Marietta is likely to put some still-raw emotions back on full display.
A series of major events are planned in coming days, several of which seem to favor further efforts to seek “justice” for Frank in connection with the 1913 rape and murder of former Mariettan Phagan, 13, at the factory he managed in Atlanta. Frank was tried and found guilty, but after Gov. John Slaton commuted his death sentence to life imprisonment, a well-organized and well-connected group of men from Marietta abducted Frank from the state prison in Milledgeville, drove him back to Marietta and hanged him at Frey’s Gin just off Roswell Road near the present-day Big Chicken.
No one was ever held responsible for the death of Frank, who is believed to be the only Jewish-American ever lynched in this country.
Among those who likely won’t be attending any of those events is retiree Mary Phagan Keane of Ellijay, the grand-niece and namesake of “Little Mary” Phagan. Keane has served as her family’s spokesperson in recent decades, giving voice to the many here who still think Frank was guilty.
His 1986 pardon was the result of political pressure and threatened economic pressure, she says.
“That’s why they granted it,” Keane said. “They could not prove that Leo Frank was not guilty. (That ruling) was bought and paid for by the supporters of Leo Frank.
“That rabbi (Lebow) needs to stop all this cr-p. It’s already been decided. He has no clue what he does to our family when he brings this up. “Who is he? He has no connections to the (Frank) family, but he’s eager to stir up trouble. Tell him to stop. He wants ‘a new Marietta’? Well, ‘the new Marietta’ needs to move on.” …
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Source: The Marietta Daily Journal