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.

Loving vs. Virginia II

Lead: In 1924, because of deep-seated white racism and growing out of the now-discredited concept of eugenics, Virginia passed the Racial Integrity Act. It lasted 43 years.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts

Content: During the Civil War, in an effort to pin the label of race mixing on Republicans, Democrats published in New York a fake pamphlet advocating miscegenation, the sexual intermixing of white and black races. Unfortunately, before the pamphlet was demonstrated to be a hoax in 1864, the vile word miscegenation entered American social and political discourse. Beginning in the 1880s, particularly in the former Confederate states, laws were passed to attempt to blunt the effects of Constitutional amendments thirteen, fourteen, and fifteen, and maintain African American second-class citizenship. One such law was Virginia’s Racial Integrity Act (1924). It was for violation of this prohibition against interracial marriage or interracial sexual intercourse that Mildred Jeter Loving and Richard Loving were arrested, convicted and banished from the Commonwealth in 1959.

Loving vs. Virginia I

Lead: In summer 1958 the long arm of Virginia law propelled by generations of racial animus reached out to ensnare Richard and Mildred Loving.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts

Content: On a warm night in mid-July, Caroline County Sheriff R. Garnet Brooks and two deputies invaded the bedroom of the sleeping Lovings. The cops asked why the two were in bed together. Mildred said, “I am his wife.” When Richard Loving pointed to their District of Columbia marriage license hanging on the wall, Brooks said, “That’s no good here.” They were arrested and hauled off to jail.