The Anti-Defamation League announced that it will host the world premiere screening of “The People v. Leo Frank,” a television documentary shedding important new light on the trial and subsequent lynching of Jewish Atlanta businessman Leo Frank.
The screening will be held on April 30 at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, located just two miles from the site in Marietta where Frank was hanged after being abducted from a prison cell in Milledgeville, Ga.
“The world premiere of this compelling film will present an important opportunity for the people of metro Atlanta to reflect on the bigotry that haunts our past, but more important, to celebrate how far we’ve come in building a community that rejects bigotry and hatred,” said Liz Price, ADL Southeast Regional Board Chair.
Chairs for the ADL event are former Georgia governor Roy Barnes, Cobb County Chairman Sam Olens, the first Jewish chairman of Cobb County, and Emory University Associate Professor of Law Julie Seaman, a board member of the Georgia Innocence Project.
The Leo Frank case is widely regarded as one of the most infamous episodes in American judicial history. Frank, the manager of a downtown Atlanta pencil factory, was accused of murdering Mary Phagan, a 13-year-old employee of the factory. Sensational coverage by daily newspapers whipped the emotions of Atlanta citizens into a frenzy about the murder, and Tom Brown, a Georgia political leader and magazine editor, stirred powerful anti-Semitic feelings with his lurid articles attacking Frank.
The Frank case catapulted the Anti-Defamation League into prominence as one of the nation’s leading civil rights organizations. Because Leo Frank was the lone white victim in a sea of African Americans who were lynched in the South, it is appropriate that the ADL mission is “To stop the defamation of the Jewish people… and to secure justice and fair treatment for all.”
Ironically, the Frank case also sparked a rebirth of the Ku Klux Klan.
The evening will include a salute to the teachers and students from some of the 150 metro Atlanta schools that participate in ADL’s acclaimed No Place for Hate anti-bullying initiative.
The event will also pay tribute to the federal, state and local law enforcement officers who work with ADL every day.
“The People v. Leo Frank,” written, produced and directed by award-winning filmmaker Ben Loeterman, will be shown on PBS stations across the country in the fall. Loeterman is one of public television’s most prolific producers of historical and public affairs documentaries, and has produced numerous films for such prestigious PBS programs as American Experience and Frontline.
Loeterman and the film’s stars, Will Janowitz of “The Sopranos” and Seth Gilliam of “The Wire,” and many of the Atlanta actors and production team that worked on the film will attend the premiere.
Tickets for the premiere are available on the ADL online ticketing site, at www.ald.org/leofrank or by calling the ADL office at (404) 262-3470.