Kennesaw's Southern Museum to memorialize Leo Frank 100 years after lynching

On Aug. 17, 100 years to the day that Jewish factory superintendent Leo Frank was lynched in Marietta after his much-questioned conviction in the murder of Mary Phagan, the Southern Museum of Civil War & Locomotive History will open an exhibition memorializing Frank and the case, it announced this week.

Partnering with Atlanta's William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum and Kennesaw State University's Museum of History and Holocaust Education, the Kennesaw museum will mount "Seeking Justice: The Leo Frank Case Revisited" through Nov. 29.

Credit: hpousner

Credit: hpousner

The 2,800-square-foot exhibit will include artifacts such as Frank’s National Pencil Co. desk, personal belongings of Phagan and the door to the Milledgeville prison infirmary that an angry mob allegedly opened when kidnapping Frank.

“The lynching of Leo Frank is a difficult moment in our state’s history and one that still resonates a century later,” said Southern Museum Executive Director Richard Banz. “While its memory and aftermath are painful even 100 years later, we expect this exhibit to spark an exploration of how we can work together to eliminate bigotry from the public square.”

Related programming includes stagings of "Parade," Alfred Uhry's Tony Award-winning musical inspired by the case, on Nov. 19 at Marietta's Strand Theatre (followed by a community conversation led by Uhry) and Nov. 22 at the Temple (the Midtown synagogue where Frank, who was pardoned in 1986, attended).

Former Gov. Roy Barnes, now a Marietta lawyer, is leading the fund-raising and programming committee.

More information: HOWARD POUSNER