Leo Frank and the Murder of Little Mary Phagan : Mary …

by Curator on October 24, 2017

CENTENNIAL REVIEW (Published on April 26, 2013): The Murder of Little Mary Phagan was written by Mary Phagan-Kean (Born: Friday, June 5, 1953) & published by New Horizon Press (September 15, 1989).

‘The Murder of Little Mary Phagan’ by Mary Phagan-Kean is an exceptionally insightful autobiographical sketch detailing a fascinating journey exploring one of the most infamous and sensational criminal cases in the annals of early 20th century Southern legal history. What makes this book so unique, is it provides an intimate view of the Frank-Phagan case from the grandniece of the victim, about a child laborer who was murdered one hundred years ago on April 26, 1913 — little Mary Anne Phagan (b. Thursday, June 1, 1899). This monograph is the most even-handed book ever written about this case and its contentious aftermath. Phagan-Kean dispels one of the central anti-Gentile blood libel conspiracies of the Frank-Phagan Case that has persisted for more than one hundred years as of 2013 — the theory that Leo Frank was indicted, convicted and hanged because of wide spread Southern anti-Semitism.

In the Yawning Darkness on Sunday, April 27, 1913

After Old Newt Lee, the African-American National Pencil Company nightwatchman, punched the timeclock in Leo Frank’s second floor business office at 3:01 o’clock a.m., he went down to the stygian basement for the purpose of using the racially segregated Negro toilet. When he completed his business and went to check the large sliding wooden and steel door of the cellar service ramp, something out of the ordinary appeared faintly in the gloom. As Lee held his smoky lantern closer, it appeared to be a dead child, who had been horribly mauled. Lee in a state of shock, briskly ran to the head of the basement and climbed up two flights to call his superintendent Leo Frank, but after 8 minutes of trying to reach him, no one answered, so Newt called the Atlanta police station.

The grizzly discovery launched an investigation that began precisely at 3:24 AM on Sunday, April 27, 1913, when the graveyard shift call-officer, W.F. Anderson was notified by telephone from a frantic Negro about the horrific discovery. A squadcar filled with officers and Britt Craig (Atlanta Constitution Journalist) was immediately dispatched by Anderson moments later. What happened next, was revealed at the Leo Frank trial more than three months later, as first responders described in detail what events occurred upon their arrival.

At dawn, after the police failed to contact Leo Frank by phone all night long, they finally got through to him at 7:00 am and rushed over to his residence and carried him directly to the morgue for identifying the dead body. After Leo Frank claimed to be unsure about the identity of the dead girl, police officers drove him to factory, in an effort to have him pinpoint the approximate time of Phagan’s arrival via his accounting books.

“Saturday, April 26, 1913 at 12:03 o’clock p.m.”

Inside Leo’s business office, he opened his payroll ledger and told the officers that Mary Phagan had arrived at about 12:03 pm on Saturday, April 26, 1913, asking for her pay and upon receiving it left. Frank went on to tell the police he did not leave his office until 12:45 p.m.

Monday, April 28, 1913 at 9:00 a.m.

The next day, Monday morning, April 28, 1913, Leo Frank would change the time of Phagan’s arrival to his office from 12:03 pm, to between, “12:05pm to 12:10pm, maybe 12:07pm” (State’s Exhibit B, Leo Frank Trial Brief of Evidence, 1913).

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Leo Frank and the Murder of Little Mary Phagan : Mary …

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