Download Black-Jewish Relations on Trial: Leo Frank and Jim Conley in by Jeffrey Melnick PDF

By Jeffrey Melnick

An research of the Leo Frank case as a degree of the complexities characterizing the connection among African american citizens and Jews in the USA

In 1915 Leo Frank, a Northern Jew, was once lynched in Georgia. He have been convicted of the homicide of Mary Phagan, a tender white lady who labored within the Atlanta pencil manufacturing facility controlled through Frank. In a tumultuous trial in 1913 Frank's major accuser used to be Jim Conley, an African American worker within the manufacturing facility. was once Frank to blame?

In our time a martyr's air of mystery falls over Frank as a sufferer of non secular and neighborhood bigotry. The endless controversy has encouraged debates, video clips, books, songs, and theatrical productions. one of the inventive works fascinated about the case are a ballad via Fiddlin' John Carson, David Mamet's novel The outdated Religion in 1997, and Alfred Uhry and Jason Robert Brown's musical Parade in 1998.

Indeed, the Frank case has turn into a touchstone within the heritage of black-Jewish cultural kinfolk. How- ever, for too lengthy the trial has been oversimplified because the second whilst Jews famous their vulnerability in the US and started to make universal reason with African american citizens.

This learn has a distinct story to inform. It casts off outdated political and cultural luggage which will investigate the cultural context of Frank's trial, and to envision the tension put on the connection of African americans and Jews by way of it. the translation provided this is in keeping with deep archival study, analyses of the court docket documents, and research of assorted creative creations encouraged by way of the case. It means that the case will be understood as supplying conclusive early facts of the deep mutual mistrust among African american citizens and Jews, a mistrust that has been skillfully and cynically manipulated through strong white humans.

Black-Jewish kin on Trial is anxious much less with what truly occurred within the nationwide Pencil corporation manufacturing facility than with how Frank's trial, conviction, and lynching were used as an get together to discover black-Jewish kinfolk and the recent South. simply as with the O. J. Simpson trial, the Frank trial calls for that americans make a profound exam in their crucial ideals approximately race, sexuality, and gear.

Jeffrey Melnick is an assistant professor of yank experiences at Babson collage and the writer of A correct to Sing the Blues: African american citizens, Jews, and American well known Song.

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Black-Jewish Relations on Trial: Leo Frank and Jim Conley in the New South

An research of the Leo Frank case as a degree of the complexities characterizing the connection among African american citizens and Jews in the United States In 1915 Leo Frank, a Northern Jew, was once lynched in Georgia. He were convicted of the homicide of Mary Phagan, a tender white girl who labored within the Atlanta pencil manufacturing unit controlled through Frank.

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Additional resources for Black-Jewish Relations on Trial: Leo Frank and Jim Conley in the New South

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As Kluger notes in his afterword to the novel, it has never "been conclusively determined" who "really killed the Phagan girl" (468). One thing that his novel does conclusively show, however, is that new modalities of sexual interaction were a defining feature of modern factory life, and the relationship of Leo Frank, Jim Conley, and Mary Phagan has to be understood as an expression of that reality. The "truest" versions of the Frank case are not those that stick most closely to the established facts of the case.

Thankfully, the musical does not portray Conley as the bumbling fool he is in the 1986 television miniseries The Murder of Mary Phagan. As scripted by Larry McMurtry for television, Conley was a minstrel caricature, a killer too stupid to hide his lies. But Parade's Jim Conley is full of righteous anger, aware that white folks would never care very much if a young Black woman had been killed. His two big numbers in the show ("A Rumblin' and a Rollin'" and "Feel the Rain 22 Leo Frank, the Musical Fall") are—perhaps inspired by producer Harold Prince's recent success with a revival of Show Boat—basically "OF Man River" on steroids: voicing general protest against white racism, the songs do nothing to specify Conley's place in the racist labor system of the New South.

Taken together, these attributes are alleged to have kept Frank from becoming a successful salesman, not only in the strict business sense but also in a more diffuse way: Frank could not put himself over with the sort of grace that southerners reputedly held so dear (Golden 8; Dobkowski 48, 57). It is worth stopping here to ask what sort of Jew Frank was, and what the implications of this status would be for southerners and other Americans who were observing his plight. To state the most obvious point, Frank was the kind of Jew who did not remember the Sabbath to keep it holy; he was working at the pencil factory on the Saturday when Mary Phagan was killed.

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