Credit: (Emilio Madrid/DKC/O&M via AP)
Political Rewind: Tony-winning 'Parade' tells Leo Frank's story
Alfred Uhry, playwright and screenwriter, Parade
Rabbi Alvin Sugarman, senior rabbi, The Temple
Jim Galloway, @jimjournalist, former columnist, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Steve Oney, @steveoneywriter, author, And the Dead Shall Rise
Last Sunday, Alfred Uhry's Parade won the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical. The musical details the life, trial and lynching of Leo Frank in 1915. Following a thin conviction for the murder of Mary Phagan, a young girl who worked in his factory, his lynching sparked the second iteration of the Ku Klux Klan and the movement of Jewish Georgians out of the state.
The musical paints Leo Frank as an outsider to the South. A Jewish man in his late 20s from New York, he moved to manage a pencil factory in Atlanta, whose workforce was largely young women. Rabbi Alvin Sugarman and Steve Oney mentioned his social status as an "outsider" who wasn't used to Southern social norms, potentially drawing attention to himself from suspicious Georgians.
Frank's mob lynching had a massive impact that can be felt today. Not only did it spark the revival of the Ku Klux Klan and the early years of the Anti-Defamation League, contemporary anti-Semites evoke Phagan's death to protest events like productions of Parade.
Steve Oney worked to uncover the identities of the men who made up Frank's lynch mob, who were led by several powerful Marietta residents. Former Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes revealed that his wife's grandfather was one of the members of the mob.
The Political Rewind team will be off Monday, June 19 in observance of Juneteenth.
Tuesday on Political Rewind: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Greg Bluestein joins the panel.