August 17 - 1915 - The Lynching of Leo Frank
The Knights of Mary Phagan kidnapped Leo Frank from a prison and lynched because they believed he had killed Mary Phagan in 1913, the crime Frank was serving a life sentence for at the prison. Everything about the murder of Mary Phagan and the lynching of Leo Frank was a national sensation. The ups and downs of the investigation were front page headlines, and under pressure authorities focused their attention on Leo Frank. Almost certainly, the real perpetrator was Jim Conley, an African-American janitor and alcoholic with a violent criminal past. Yet most people in Georgia thought Frank did it, and when Governor John Slaton commuted Frank's sentence to life, the Knights of Mary Phagn organized themselves.