Leo Frank lynching at 100 discussed in November 17 talk

Two Grady College alumni will present “The Leo Frank Case at 100: Viewing One of the State’s Darkest Hours through the Prism of Athens and the University of Georgia” Nov. 17 at 4 p.m. in the University of Georgia Richard B. Russell Building Special Collection Libraries.

Journalist and author Steve Oney (ABJ ’79) will discuss two of the nation’s most infamous murders, which occurred in the Atlanta area a century ago.   Oney, author of  “And the Dead Shall Rise: The Murder of Mary Phagan and the Lynching of Leo Frank,” will discuss issues of race, religion, journalism, justice and social class emanating from those murders, including the role of Athenians in the criminal proceedings.

Oney will be joined by Stan Deaton (ABJ ’86) senior historian and Dr. Elaine B. Andrews Historian at the Georgia Historical Society.

“Steve Oney is a gem of a writer, and a gifted storyteller,” said Charles Davis, dean of Grady College. “He and Stan Deaton will enthrall the audience, bringing a troubling and important part of Georgia history to life as only they can. Grady is proud to welcome back two of its beloved alums for what promises to be a memorable event.”

The free, public dialog is co-sponsored by Grady College and the Georgia Historical Society.

“You can’t understand the Leo Frank case unless you understand Athens and the University of Georgia,” said Oney. “Attorneys on both sides attended law school here. The men who planned Frank’s lynching were UGA graduates. Frank’s wife, Lucille, spent much of her girlhood in Athens—her cousins owned the beautiful Michael Brothers Department Store on Clayton Street. Simply put, this is very much an Athens story.”

Oney, a former Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, was a staff writer for many years at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Magazine. He has contributed articles to many national publications, including Esquire, Playboy, Premiere, GQ and the New York Times Magazine. Oney, a Grady Fellow, lives in Los Angeles.

“The Georgia Historical Society is pleased to partner with Grady College to bring this program to the University of Georgia Athens,” said Deaton. “As a Grady grad, this is a homecoming for me, and I’m particularly excited to return to Athens with Steve Oney to talk about the Leo Frank case and its impact there.”

Deaton is managing editor of the Georgia Historical Quarterly and an Emmy-winning writer and host of “Today in Georgia History,” jointly produced for TV and radio by GHS and Georgia Public Broadcasting. Deaton earned a master’s degree in history from UGA and a doctorate from the University of Florida.

Georgia Historical Society is the premier independent statewide institution responsible for collecting, examining and teaching Georgia history. GHS houses the oldest and most distinguished collection of materials related exclusively to Georgia history in the nation. To learn more, go to georgiahistory.com

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