ATHENS, Ga. – Steve Oney will lecture on his new book, And the Dead Shall Rise, about the murder of Mary Phagan and lynching of Leo Frank, at 12 p.m. Friday, Oct. 10, in the University of Georgia Chapel. The event, which is sponsored by UGA’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, is free and open to the public.
Frank, a northern Jew, was the manager of an Atlanta pencil factory where 13-year-old Mary Phagan worked and was brutally murdered. After he was charged with the crime and arrested, Frank’s religion and ethnicity were an unarticulated but central theme of the dramatic, two-year trial that garnered worldwide attention. Frank was convicted and sentenced to death, but the governor commuted the sentence to life imprisonment. Anti-Semitism in Georgia then reached a fever pitch, and Frank was dragged from his prison cell by a lynch mob and hanged near Phagan’s hometown.
A review of the book in Publisher’s Weekly accounts the lynching of Leo Frank as one of the most sensational and resonant incidents in U.S. criminal and legal history and a touchstone for anti-Semitism. The case is an emblem of U.S. intolerance, which inspired the 1937 movie They Won’t Forget and the 1998 Broadway musical Parade.
And the Dead Shall Rise is a nonfiction work of history that relies on the research and writing techniques of a seasoned journalist. The book includes extensive discussion of the press coverage of the Frank trial in Colliers magazine, the New York Times and the Atlanta press. Besides recounting the murder, the subsequent trial and the later abduction and lynching, Oney’s book explores racial, religious and economic tensions in Georgia and the United States.
Los Angeles-based writer Oney was raised in Atlanta where he graduated from Peachtree High School. Oney is a 1979 graduate of the Grady College. He was a Neiman Fellow at Harvard in 1982. For many years, he worked as a staff writer for Atlanta Weekly, the Sunday magazine of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Oney has also worked as a senior editor at California and a senior writer at Premiere. His articles have appeared in Esquire, GQ, The New York Times Magazine and New York.
Established in 1915, the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication provides seven undergraduate majors: advertising, broadcast news, magazines, newspapers, public relations, publication management and telecommunication arts. The college offers three graduate degrees, and it is home to the Peabody Awards, one of the premier awards programs in broadcasting.