ADVANTAGES

The Frank trial was used skillfully by Georgia politician and publisher Tom Watson as a strategy to build support for the reorganization of the Ku Klux Klan, with a new anti-Jewish, anti-Catholic, and anti-immigrant slant. The new Klan was inaugurated in 1915 at a mountaintop meeting attended by aging members of the original Klan, along with members of the Knights of Mary Phagan. The recreation of the Klan was also greatly aided by D. W. Griffith's 1915 film The Birth of a Nation, which glorified the Klan. The film resonated strongly with many southerners who believed Frank to be guilty, because they saw an analogy between Mary Phagan and the film's character Flora, a young virgin who throws herself off a cliff to avoid being raped by the black character Gus, described as "a renegade, a product of the vicious doctrines spread by the carpetbaggers."

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