Leo Frank and PARADE: A Jewish Fairy Tale Gone Bad

  When Alfred Uhry’s play Parade opened in Chicago this week (May 24 – July 2), its audience was told they would be watching a historical drama. The Chicago Tribune claimed that Parade is telling “a true story of a man falsely accused of murder.” That man is Leo Frank. He was a Jewish pencil factory manager and B’nai B’rith leader in Atlanta who was convicted of the 1913 murder of one of his employees, a 13-year-old gentile girl named Mary Phagan. Frank was ultimately imprisoned and then lynched in 1915, the only Jew ever lynched in America, it is claimed. As the Tribune suggests, many Jews for a century have believed Frank to be the innocent victim of “anti-Semitism,” and the play Parade dramatizes that belief. “Parade” is a strange title for a play about two horrific murders. In choosing that title, playwright Alfred Uhry was referring to the big event that was underway on April 26, 1913—the last day of Mary Phagan’s young life. It was Confederate Memorial Day and a parade of old rebel soldiers was moving through Atlanta’s main thoroughfares. But in the context of today’s cultural politics, Parade is really about Jewish mythmakers forcing Americans onto the proverbial bandwagon and into believing a … Continue reading Leo Frank and PARADE: A Jewish Fairy Tale Gone Bad