2015-09-09 / Features

Remembering Leo Frank

By Jason D. Antos

Leo Frank.Leo Frank.The tragic case of Leo Frank serves as a dark reminder of anti semitism in America.

This past summer, elected officials, family and community activists gathered at the grave and memorial site of Leo Frank at Mount Carmel Cemetery in Glendale on the 100th anniversary of his murder for a centenial tribute.

Frank, a Jewish-American factory superintendent was lynched in Georgia on Aug. 17, 1915, after being falsely convicted of murder of one his female employees, Mary Phagan. Frank was abducted from his jail cell and was driven 170 miles to the town of Marietta, Georgia where he was lynched  

“We stand together today to acknowledge this horrible history and to maintain our Leo Frank memorial at Mount Carmel Cemetery in Glendale where he is also interned. PHOTO JASON D. ANTOSLeo Frank memorial at Mount Carmel Cemetery in Glendale where he is also interned. PHOTO JASON D. ANTOScommitment toward creating a society that is fair and just for people of all religions and races,” said Councilman Rory Lancman (D-Fresh Meadows), whose office organized the event. “We still have a lot of work to do.”

Frank’s case gained national attention during the appeals process, as it became increasingly apparent that his trial was poisoned by religious hate and prejudice against Northerners.

“His story is one that must be shared to help combat this type of hate,” Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Glendale) said. “There was hate and bigotry that ultimately took his life. This still happens today. We have to fight these injustices.”

Also on hand were Assemblyman David Weprin and Catherine Smithline, Frank’s grandniece, who bemoaned the fact that much of the history surrounding Frank has been lost, owing to a “conspiracy of silence” among his family members.

The ceremony concluded with the presentation of a City Council proclamation to Smithline.

Frank was posthumously pardoned by the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles in 1986.

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