The Saga of Leo Frank III

Lead: In 1915, Georgia Governor John M. Slaton commuted the sentence of Leo Frank, a man wrongfully convicted in the brutal murder of one of his employees, young Mary Phagan. That summer a mob broke into the prison farm where Frank was being held, took him out and lynched him.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Slaton said later he would have pardoned Frank had he been asked to, but the failure to request complete exoneration was the latest in a long series of blunders by Frank's defense teams and the ultimate triumph of a prosecution which conspired in what was little more than an official frame-up. Frank was convicted by the testimony of a black janitor who was almost certainly guilty of the murder himself. An ironic twist of American justice: anti-Semitic prejudice prevailed over anti-black bias. In 1942 Rev. L.O. Bricker, the Baptist pastor of Mary Phagan's parents, revealed the popular sentiment at the time, "My own feelings, upon the arrest of the old Negro night-watchman, were .... [that he] would be poor atonement for the life of this little girl. But, when .... the police arrested a Jew, and a Yankee Jew at that, all of the inborn prejudice against Jews rose up in a feeling of satisfaction, that here would be a victim worthy to pay for the crime."

The Saga of Leo Frank II

Lead: In 1913 Leo Frank, a leader in Atlanta's Jewish business community, was accused of brutally murdering one of his female employees, Mary Phagan. It has been called "one of the most shocking frame-ups ever perpetrated by American law and order officials."

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In order to obtain an indictment against Frank, Solicitor Hugh Dorsey withheld from the grand jury the key fact that he had another suspect, Jim Conley, a janitor from the factory. Conley had been seen washing blood from a shirt after the murder, he admitted writing two notes found near the body which, in nearly unintelligible language, attempted to shift the blame away from himself, and under strong pressure from police investigators, changed his story over and over. In retrospect, it is clear that the police were determined to get Frank's conviction and used Conley to do it.

Eugenics II

Lead: From its start as an optimistic approach to improving the human condition, eugenics degenerated into a racist tool in the hands of bigotry and ultimately led to the gas ovens of the Third Reich.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The fundamental problem with eugenics, even as Sir Francis Galton articulated it in the 19th century, was that it focused primarily on inborn characteristics and almost completely disregarded social, environmental, educational, and physical factors when examining the human race. Basically, eugenicists advocated a form of genetic determinism. A person is born with a genetic imprint that determines the course of their lives. Not surprisingly these theories became a powerful tool in the hands of racists. It all depends on who is setting the standard. If society is to improve itself, it is said, it must eliminate genetic threats to racial purity. In the sad history of eugenics, a wide variety of groups have been singled out for social restriction, sterilization, or elimination. Feeble-minded or mentally ill people, habitual criminals, sexual libertines, Negroes, Native Americans or any non-whites, Jews, gypsies, and evangelical Christians have all fallen under the wary and sometimes fatal scrutiny of the eugenic mandate. They bore undesirable human traits.

Eugenics I

Lead: In the 19th and 20th centuries, theories about the way to improve the human condition spawned the pseudo-science of eugenics. Unfortunately, optimism about making mankind better degenerated into the darkness of racism.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Sir Francis Galton confessed to having had a happy childhood. His upper-class parents gave him a Cambridge education though he never took his degree, and left him sufficient inherited funds so that he could avoid work and indulge his great love of travel. From 1845 to 1853 Galton explored parts of the Middle East and Africa, including a very careful but ultimately fruitless expedition from West Africa in search of Lake Ngami, which is in Botswana, north of the Kalahari Desert. After his marriage he turned to more scholarly pursuits producing books on a wide variety of subjects including fingerprinting, calculus, genetics and weather prediction. Galton is best known, however, for his advocacy of improving the human species through selective parenting, a process he called eugenics.

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Confederados III

Lead: After the Civil War many Southern diehards, instead of submitting to federal occupation, migrated to Brazil.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In the spring of 1972, then Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter made an official visit to Brazil. One of the most interesting parts of his tour was the City of Americana, with a modern population of 160,000. There Mr. Carter was greeted by descendants of the town founders, Confederates who came south after the U.S. Civil War. He gave a speech at a cemetery where American, Brazilian, and Confederate flags were displayed prominently.

The original immigration came during 1867-1868. They settled on large tracts of land provided cheaply by the Brazilian government, aware that their success might provoke an even larger wave of Southerners, perhaps as much as 100,000. By 1870 it was clear that no such mass movement would occur. Most of those remaining in the South, like Robert E. Lee, were fitfully accommodating themselves to the changes in the New South and denounced any suggestion of departure.

Confederados II

Lead: Horrified at the prospect of defeat, emancipated slaves, economic devastation, and Yankee occupation, in the years following the Civil War some Southerners emigrated to Mexico, to the Caribbean, and to South America.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: While most leaders such as Robert E. Lee counseled gracious acceptance of defeat and accommodation to the New South, others were bitter and determined to leave. They were animated by the sentiments expressed in a song popular among whites in the South in the years following the war, a verse of which reads:

Confederados I

Lead: As the dreams of an independent Confederacy crumbled under the relentless assault of the Federal war machine, people North and South began to imagine what life would be like in a Southland humbled by defeat.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Union leaders given to mercy and forgiveness like Abraham Lincoln were prepared to accept the Southerners as if they had never been away. Lincoln, the long-suffering leader of a victorious cause, just might have been able to pull it off. He wanted to quickly restore the South to full participation in the life of the Republic with as little damage as possible beyond that directly associated with the military campaigns.

1968: The Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. II

Introduction: A Moment in Time, 1968: A special series on the 40th anniversary of a year of upheaval, in a world seemingly out of control.

Content: In early April 1968 the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. flew back to Memphis, Tennessee where, in his absence on March 28th, protests in support of a garbage workers strike had turned violent. He had been leading the protests and was determined to cool things off and enforce his brand of non-violent agitation.

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