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And the Dead Shall Rise  

The Murder of Mary Phagan

and the Lynching of Leo Frank

- Steve Oney  


Nieman Fellow, Harvard University  

Staff writer, Atlanta Journal-Constitution Magazine  

Contributor: Esquire, Playboy, GQ, New York Times Magazine 

Author: A Man’s World, University of Georgia Press, 2019  


And The Dead Shall Rise, Awards 

- American Bar Association, Silver Gavel Award  

- National Jewish Book Award for History 

- Southern Book Critics Circle Prize  

- Georgia Historical Society’s Malcolm and Muriel Barrrow Bell  

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Episode #1

Q:  And the Dead Shall Rise - Steve Oney - Intro 


  • Attended University of Georgia & Harvard 

  • Interviews Alozno Mann, a witness at trial 

  • Confessed  to perjury 

  • Wrote an article for Esquire 

  • Led to more research and the book 

Episode #2

Q: Atlanta, Georgia: Early 1900’s 


  • Small / Big city 

  • Accepted Northern victory in Civil War 

  • Forward looking, industry, not agrarian 

  • Leo Frank part of vanguard of elite 

  • Jewish community, German Jews 

  • 5 o’clock city, Jews & Gentiles 

Episode #3

Q:  Atlanta, Georgia: Race Relations 1910’s 


  • Boiling Cauldron  

  • Trouble, tense  

  • 1906 race riots 

  • Atlanta, Capital of South 

  • Capital of Jim Crow 

  • Segregation everywhere 

  • Black revival, universities 

Episode #4

Q:  Mary Phagan Murder: 


  • Mary Phagan, 13 year old worker 

  • National Pencil Factory 

  • Leo Frank, the supervisor 

  • Male management with young girls 

  • Saturday April 26,1913 

  • Mary Phagan collects her earnings 

  • Found dead in the factory basement 

Episode #5

Q: Why was Leo Frank Accused of the Murder? 


  • Wrong place, wrong time 

  • Last person to see Mary Phagan 

  • Circumstantial evidence 

  • Nervous with police; inconsistencies 

  • Jew in a gentile world 

  • Class tension 

  • Last minute testimony, Jim Conley 

Episode #6

Q: What was Leo Frank’s Defense? 


  • Defense team – best Atlanta lawyers 

  • But arrogant; not in tune with extent of trouble 

  • Challenged motive, pointed to Conley & money 

  • Ill-advised strategy of entering Frank’s character 

  • Young female workers testified against Frank 

Episode #7

Q: Was Leo Frank Trial like Dreyfus Affair? 


  • Parallels between Frank trial and Dreyfus 

  • Tremendous anxiety; societal change 

  • USA basically free of Anti-Semitism 

  • Trial brought issue out into the open 

  • Overt Anti-Semitism at trial – No 

  • Implicit Anti-Semitism – Yes 

  • All broke loose, ugly, after the trial 

Episode #8

Q: How was Leo Frank Lynched? 


  • Guilty verdict – 1913 

  • National campaign on behalf of Frank 

  • Adolph Ochs - NY Times 

  • Lois Marshall - ADL 

  • Appeals up to Supreme Court failed 

  • Governor Slaton commutes death sentence 

  • Thomas Watson – Jeffersonian, anti-Semitic 

  • Mob storms prison & abducts Frank 

  • Leo Frank lynched in Marietta - 1915 

Episode #9

Q: Leo Frank & Atlanta Jewish Community:


  • Leo Frank case shook up Jewish community 

  • Some left Atlanta 

  • Most viewed themselves as Southerners 

  • Self-denial; let it go approach 

  • Voted not to hire private detective 

  • Reform deemphasize outward Jewish ritual  

Episode #10

Q: Leo Frank: Was the Lynch Mob convicted? 


  • Coroner’s report and grand jury 

  • Members of lynch mob part of investigation 

  • Powerful people involved 

  • Total cover up; investigation staged 

Episode #11

Q: Leo Frank Case: American Jewish History


  • Leo Frank event a warning 

  • Is it anomalous or indicative? 

  • Frightening and potent 

  • To be ignored at our own risk 

  • Bedrock of Anti-Semitism 

Episode #12

Q: Leo Frank Case: Why does it still Reverberate? 


  • TV shows, documentaries

  • Incredible drama, Confederate Day murder 

  • Modernity versus the past 

  • Deep divide and polarization 

  • The unknown still exists 

  • Mob rule; lack of civility; breakdown 

  • Power of Press; mainstream & tabloid 

Episode #13

Q: Why should young people study the Leo Frank Case? 


  • Not a feel-good movie 

  • But we can’t sleep walk through life 

  • Situation got out of hand 

  • Danger of Anti-Semitism 

  • Importance of courts; being engaged 

  • Mary Phagan represents Southern Flower 

  • Leo Frank, portrayed as a rapacious machine 

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Full Interview - Steve Oney

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