Wednesday, April 27, 2016

A School Play

Courtesy of the Cuba Family Archives for Southern Jewish History at The Breman Museum
Last year, I bought a ticket to my cousin’s upcoming play Parade at Syracuse University. I had never heard of it and, judging by the title, it sounded cheerful and fun, just like a parade would be. As it turns out, I could not be more wrong. To give you a very brief synopsis, Parade depicts the historical events about the murder of a thirteen-year-old girl and the subsequent trial, and ultimate lynching, of a Jewish man named Leo Frank who was accused of her murder.

I was fascinated by this true story so I went home to do some research. There are so many significant and scandalous elements that are part of this history – child labor laws, the Ku Klux Klan, racial prejudices, yellow journalism, anti-Semitism – the list goes on and on. It’s no surprise that the media so heavily covered this story at the time and why it is still of tremendous interest today. I can’t help but think what Netflix would have done with this story if it had been around to make Leo Frank the subject of “Making a Murderer.”

Fast forward to January 2016 and I had just started working at the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust. I learned that one of my first tasks was to start promoting an upcoming exhibition, Seeking Justice: The Leo Frank Case Revisited. Thanks to my cousin, I was prepared.  Coincidence, luck, fate, call it what you will. If you get an opportunity to see your cousin’s play, you should go. You never know what you might learn.

To learn more about the exhibition, visit our website:

If you would like to learn how the history of Leo Frank was transformed into the Tony-winning musical Parade, watch this video: