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.

The Saga of Leo Frank I

Lead: On August 17, 1915 in the small Georgia town of Marietta, a mob lynched Leo Frank. The story behind the murder of this clearly innocent young man may serve as a snapshot of social tensions in early 20th century America.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Leo Frank represented much that irritated Southerners or for that matter, most rural Americans. He was an outsider, a Yankee transplanted to a South still struggling to rise above the destruction and humiliation of the Civil War. Raised in Brooklyn, he came to Atlanta at the turn of the century to help establish a family business, the National Pencil Company. He was an urban industrialist come to bring change to the agricultural South, but most of all he was a Jew. For many white Christian Southerners, he represented a race that had rejected the True faith and killed the Savior. Jews were considered too bright, too aggressive, and much too rich. The life of Cornell graduate Leo Frank lay in the path of such envy and prejudice and for that he suffered and died.

History’s Turning Points: Huckleberry Finn II

Historical study reveals twists in the human journey. Consider the continuing controversy over The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The publication of Huckleberry Finn was greeted with howls of derision by readers and institutions accustomed to the Romantic style of narrative. The author, Mark Twain, was a devotee of literary Realism, a movement within American and European literature that emerged after the Civil War and extended into the twentieth century. It may be defined as “the faithful representation of reality.” Authors such as William James, Rebecca Harding Davis, and Twain attempted in their writings to describe the lives and language of their characters as they really were. By the middle of the twentieth Huckleberry Finn was being hailed as a milestone in American literary progress.

History’s Turning Points: Huckleberry Finn I

Lead: Historical study often reveals twists in the human journey. Consider a literary turning point: Samuel Clemens’ The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Mark Twain’s epic novel of journey and redemption started in dispute and has remained controversial into the 21st Century. The story of Huck Finn, the slave Jim, and the fascinating cast of characters they encountered along their way down the Mississippi was greeted with howls of priggish denunciation when it was first published. “Hackwork,” “rubbish,” “coarse” were just a few expletives directed toward the book. The Concord Massachusetts Public Library called it more suited to “slums than to…respectable people.”

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The Know-Nothing Party II

Lead: Formed to resist the flood of immigrants in the 1850s, the Know-Nothing Party made prejudice pay big dividends at the ballot box.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: By 1853 the Order of United Americans had chapters in towns all over the country. Riding a wave of resentment against the huge influx of German and Irish immigrants, the Order was better known as the Know-Nothing movement. Legend says that it took its name from what members said to questions about the Order's secret meetings - "I know nothing."

 

 

 

 

The Know-Nothing Party I

Lead: In 1854 the Know-Nothing Party riding a wave of anti-immigrant prejudice, rolled up victory after victory. Except for the pre-Civil War Republicans, it was the best third party showing in American history.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The United States is nation of immigrants. Beginning with the Jamestown Colony in 1607, successive waves of aliens have sought a new life and prosperity in what they considered to be a land of opportunity. Crowding out the original Native Americans, whose ancient ancestors actually may have themselves emigrated from the eastern Asia, more strangers arrived each decade in search of a new home. Within a couple of generations, their families now firmly established, many of the newcomers considered themselves "native Americans" and looked with barely tolerant superiority at the next batch of immigrants spilling onto the docks of Boston, Philadelphia, and New York.

 

 

 

 

Loving vs. Virginia III

Lead: In one of the most important decisions of his term as Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, Earl Warren struck down racially based anti-miscegenation laws.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts

Content: After being convicted of the violation of Virginia’s Racial Integrity Act (1924) Mildred and Richard Loving were banished from the Commonwealth. They contacted the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to help them seek redress. ACLU lawyers Bernard S. Cohen and later Philip Hirschkop enthusiastically accepted the case to further the ACLU’s crusade against anti-miscegenation laws nationwide. Loving v. Virginia would be the signature case in that crusade.