The prosecution’s case was that Leo Frank raped and murdered Mary Phagan in the metal room on the second floor of the National Pencil Company’s factory versus the Defense’s version of the case that the sex-murder occurred in the basement of the factory by Jim Conley.
Jewish-American activist and racist propagandist Adolph Ochs, the media magnate who owned the New York times, commissioned this blackface photo series, with the intent to mendaciously trick people into thinking Leo Frank was completely innocent and Jim Conley was to blame entirely for the rape and strangulation of Mary Phagan. The theory of the case which Ochs promoted was there was no connivance.
The 9 photo series is part of the New York Public Library (NYPL) documents about the Leo Frank Case. The NYPL pulled these images off their website, because someone complained that the blackface photos make it seem like Adolph Ochs was a racist and a propagandist who would falsify evidence to exonerate a serial pedophile. Thankfully the images were copied before they could be erased from existence.
In 1913, Adolph Ochs took on the Mary Phagan murder case as his personal crusade to try and convince people Leo Frank was innocent. He hired a snapshooter team of photographers and White actors, one to dress up in blackface, pretending to be Conley and go through the defense’s approximate version of how Mary Phagan was assaulted, raped and strangled.
There is only one problem with Adolph Ochs version of the events… 1913 forensic science.
In real life Mary Phagan’s wounds did not bleed, so whoever supposedly assaulted and then dragged Phagan in the basement, in an effort to try and make it look like she was raped and strangled in the basement, did not know that the dead girls’ wounds would not bleed, and this fact is what gave it all away to the Coroner and other physicians, who conducted autopsies of the slain girl. They realized Mary Phagan was already quite dead before she reached the basement and likely killed upstairs in the metal room where her hair strands and blood were found.
The cover-up was one of those forensic mistakes that Leo Frank had overlooked in his attempts to make it look like she was killed in the basement.
Read the Defenses version of the case in the Leo Frank trial brief of evidence.
Last Updated July, 2011.