by Philip St. Raymond
for The American Mercury
WE HEAR A LOT today about people “playing the race card” — using race unjustly in a dispute, or as a moral bludgeon to obscure the facts. In 1913 Atlanta, the Leo Frank defense team played the race card — and in a very big way. Interestingly, the pro-Frank forces used race in a way that most people would find grossly unacceptable today: crudely attacking prosecution witness James Conley, a black man, in open court and on the record as a “dirty,” “lying,” “thieving” “nigger” — and characterizing the sex killing of Mary Phagan as a “Negro crime” of which “white man” Leo Frank, president of the Atlanta B’nai B’rith, would be — they insinuated — “incapable.” (ILLUSTRATION: Leo Frank’s lead attorney, Luther Z. Rosser, who, along with Reuben Arnold and other members of the Frank defense team, played the 1913 version of the “race card” with vigor, attacking James Conley in particular and, in his words, “niggers” in general.)
In this, the seventh audio segment of this ground-breaking work originally published by the Nation of Islam — part of their series called The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews — we also learn that the Frank defense promoted the idea that there was a separate category of testimony — “Negro testimony” — which wise jurors ought to ignore or regard as false. Nevertheless, the race-baiting strategy failed and the all-white jury believed the black man.
We also hear about Leo Frank’s own statement to the court. We can’t really call it testimony, because under Georgia law at the time, the defendant had the right to make an unsworn statement and deny the prosecution the right to cross-examine him on it — which is exactly what Leo Frank did. Frank spoke for hours on end, and almost all of that time was spent telling the jury about the intricacies of managing the accounts of the pencil factory where he was superintendent — presumably to give the impression that he would have been so busy with his books on that fatal day that he simply wouldn’t have had time to commit the murder and move the body to the basement. It was ultimately unconvincing.
This new audio book, based on the Nation of Islam’s The Leo Frank Case: The Lynching of a Guilty Man, the best investigative effort made on the Leo Frank case in the last 100 years, will take you on a trip into the past — to the greatest American murder mystery of all time; a mystery that will reveal to you the hidden forces that shape our world even today.
To read all the chapters we’ve published so far, simply click on this link.
We at The American Mercury are now proud to present part 7 of our audio version of this very important book, read by Vanessa Neubauer.
Simply press “play” on the player embedded above — or at the end of this article — to hear part 7 of the book.
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For further information on the Nation of Islam Historical Research Group, readers are encouraged to visit their Web site, noirg.org.