I’m working on a social science question and need guidance to help me understand better.
As Nancy MacLean writes on page 917 of her article in the Journal of American History, “a curious reversal of standard southern practice occurred” in the Leo Frank case. MacLean explains, “The prosecutor, the jury, and much of the public not only absolved a black suspect but in fact relied on his testimony to condemn a wealthy white man. As Phagan’s minister, who at first believed Frank guilty but changed his mind after the verdict, mused in hindsight, it was as if the death of a black man ‘would be poor atonement for the life of this innocent little girl. But in Frank, ‘a Yankee Jew…here would be a victim worthy to pay for the crime.’”
What major social and economic trends help to explain this “curious reversal in standard southern practice” when it came to the lynching of Leo Frank?
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