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New online exhibit “Tragedy in the New South: The Murder of Mary Phagan and the Lynching of Leo Frank”

2015 December 1
by Mandy Mastrovita
Leo Frank and his wife Lucille in the court room for his murder trial, Georgia, 1913. Local identification number: AJCP402-102e, Atlanta Journal-Constitution Photographic Archives. Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library.

Leo Frank and his wife Lucille in the court room for his murder trial, Georgia, 1913.
Local identification number: AJCP402-102e, Atlanta Journal-Constitution Photographic Archives. Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library.

The Digital Library of Georgia is pleased to announce a new online exhibition titled Tragedy in the New South: The Murder of Mary Phagan and the Lynching of Leo Frank that is now available through the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA).

The link to the exhibit is http://dp.la/exhibitions/exhibits/show/leo-frank.

On April 26, 1913, Confederate Memorial Day, thirteen-year-old Mary Phagan was murdered at the National Pencil Company in Atlanta, Georgia. Leo Frank, the Jewish, New York-raised superintendent of the National Pencil Company, was charged with the crime.

At the same time, Atlanta’s economy was transforming from rural and agrarian to urban and industrial. Resources for investing in new industry came from Northern states, as did most industrial leaders, like Leo Frank. Many of the workers in these new industrial facilities were children, like Mary Phagan.

Over the next two years, Leo Frank’s legal case became a national story with a highly publicized, controversial trial and lengthy appeal process that profoundly affected Jewish communities in Georgia and the South, and impacted the careers of lawyers, politicians, and publishers.

By the early twentieth century, Jewish communities had become well-established in most major Southern cities, continuing a path of migration that began during colonial times. The Leo Frank case and its aftermath revealed lingering regional hostilities from the Civil War and Reconstruction, intensified existing racial and cultural inequalities (particularly anti-Semitism), embodied socioeconomic problems (such as child labor), and exposed the brutality of lynching in the South.

This exhibit is a collaboration between DLG and DPLA staff. DPLA exhibitions cover major themes and events in American history and culture, and are widely used in education. Exhibits are comprised of items curated from collections made available by DPLA content partners. The incorporation of these shared materials ensures broader discoverability of these resources.

Tragedy in the New South: The Murder of Mary Phagan and the Lynching of Leo Frank makes use of photographs, newspaper articles, broadsides, illustrations, letters, and other unique items to illustrate key themes, which include the setting of Atlanta in 1913, the murder of Mary Phagan, Leo Frank’s legal battle, Frank’s lynching, regional and national reactions to the lynching, and the legacy of the Frank case.

We hope that you take the time to look through this new exhibition.

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World AIDS Day is December 1st

2015 December 1
by Mandy Mastrovita
Tom Fox during a checkup at Atlanta Hospital, the same day he made his funeral arrangements, Atlanta, Georgia, August 29, 1988. AJCPov01-031DJ, Atlanta Journal Constitution Photographic Archives. Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library.

Tom Fox during a checkup at Atlanta Hospital, the same day he made his funeral arrangements, Atlanta, Georgia, August 29, 1988. AJCPov01-031DJ, Atlanta Journal Constitution Photographic Archives. Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library.

World AIDS Day is observed December 1st each year to generate awareness of the AIDS pandemic and provides an opportunity for people worldwide to work together to fight HIV, to demonstrate support for people living with HIV, and to remember people who have died of AIDS. You can learn more about World AIDS Day at https://www.aids.gov/news-and-events/awareness-days/world-aids-day/.

Several collections in the Digital Library of Georgia include HIV/AIDS related historical materials that also document the pandemic’s impact in Georgia.

From our partners at Georgia State University Libraries Special Collections and Archives, the Terri Wilder Papers collection focuses on Wilder’s efforts as an advocate for people living with HIV/AIDS (Wilder is an activist, HIV/AIDS advocate, and social worker who has worked in HIV patient services for over twenty years). The materials in this collection consist primarily of educational literature produced by organizations with which Wilder has worked, including ACT-UP, the Global Campaign for Microbicides, and the Hope Clinic at Emory University.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Photographs collection, also from our partners at Georgia State University Libraries Special Collections and Archives, includes numerous photographs of the last eighteen months of the life of Tom Fox, a man living with AIDS in the late 1980s. These photographs were part of a sixteen-page special section of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution titled “When AIDS comes home” by photojournalist Michael A. Schwarz and reporter Steve Sternberg.

Pregnancy and HIV: pamphlets, 1997-2002. W085_01_13, Terri Wilder papers, Archives for Research on Women and Gender. Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University.

Pregnancy and HIV: pamphlets, 1997-2002. W085_01_13, Terri Wilder papers, Archives for Research on Women and Gender. Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University.

From our partners at Kennesaw State University Archives, the Southern Voice newspaper collection contains 250 issues of the Southern Voice, a significant resource for the LGBT community in the Southeast from 1988 to 2010. Many of the issues in this collection provide in-depth coverage of the fight against AIDS and the epidemic’s effect both regionally and nationally.

We hope that you take a look through these collections on World AIDS Day.

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