An Unspeakable Crime by Elaine Marie Alphin
The Prosecution and Persecution of Leo Frank

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Was an innocent man wrongly accused of murder? On April 26, 1913, thirteen-year-old Mary Phagan planned to meet friends at a parade in Atlanta, Georgia. But first she stopped at the pencil factory where she worked to pick up her paycheck. Mary never left the building alive. A black watchman found Mary's body brutally beaten and raped. Police arrested the watchman, but they weren't satisfied that he was the killer. Then they paid a visit to Leo Frank, the factory's superintendent, who was both a northerner and a Jew. Spurred on by the media frenzy and prejudices of the time, the detectives made Frank their prime suspect, one whose conviction would soothe the city's anger over the death of a young white girl. The prosecution of Leo Frank was front-page news for two years, and Frank's lynching is still one of the most controversial incidents of the twentieth century. It marks a turning point in the history of racial and religious hatred in America, leading directly to the founding of the Anti-Defamation League and to the rebirth of the modern Ku Klux Klan. Relying on primary source documents and painstaking research, award-winning novelist Elaine Alphin tells the true story of justice undone in America.

About Elaine Marie Alphin

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Elain Marie Alphin was born in 1955 in San Francisco, California. She attended Rice University and upon graduation she received a Watson Research Fellowship, a grant given to graduating college seniors to fund independent study and travel outside the United States. She spent the next year in England, doing research for a novel she was writing about Richard III and his murder of his nephews. She turned her research into a novel for middle-grade readers entitled, Tournament of Time. Her other novels includeded Ghost Cadet, Picture Perfect, The Perfect Shot, and Simon Says. She won the Edgar Award for Best Young Adult Mystery and was named a YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers for the novel Counterfeit Son. She died on August 19, 2014 at age 58.
Published August 1, 2014 by Carolrhoda Books. 152 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Education & Reference, Young Adult. Non-fiction

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At first, the police “did what they always do in Georgia—arrested a Negro,” as reporter Harold Ross later wrote, but as the case became a media frenzy, politically ambitious Hugh Dorsey, the prosecutor, played on popular prejudice and went after Leo Frank, a Jewish, college-educated Yankee busin...

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She describes the mood in the South, the Southerners’ resentment toward the Northern industrialists, and the feeling that “while Atlanta’s sizable Jewish population was respected, they were still in the minority, and they were considered ‘different.’ ” Your teen will be drawn in not only by the e...

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