• Ku Klux Klan ritual on Stone Mountain, Georgia. Courtesy of Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library via Digital Library of Georgia.

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    Ku Klux Klan ritual on Stone Mountain, Georgia
    • Date
    • 1939
    • Creator
    • Lane Brothers Commercial Photographers (Atlanta, Ga.)
    • Description
    • Ku Klux Klan; Crossburning; Meeting; Golfing; Hunting; Stone Mountain.
    • Rights
    • Courtesy of Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library via Digital Library of Georgia. The contents of this item, including all images and text, are for personal, educational, and non-commercial use only. This item is the prop... more
      Courtesy of Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library via Digital Library of Georgia. The contents of this item, including all images and text, are for personal, educational, and non-commercial use only. This item is the property of Georgia State University Library and any user is asked to acknowledge Georgia State University Library. LBCE12-015g, Lane Brothers Commercial Photographers Photographic Collection, 1920-1976. Photographic Collection, Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library. less
    • Partner
    • Digital Library of Georgia; Georgia State University. Special Collections
    • Contributing Institution
    • Georgia State University. Libraries. Special Collections

  • William J. Simmons, seated during a 1921 investigation of the Ku Klux Klan by a US House of Representatives committee. He faces front, and several men sit in the background. Simmons was inspired to reestablish the Klan in 1915 after seeing D. W. Griffith's film, The Birth of a Nation, and learning about the Leo Frank trial in Atlanta, Georgia. Courtesy of Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.

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    William J. Simmons, Organizer of KKK Rebirth
    • Date
    • 1921
    • Description
    • Image of William J. Simmons, seated during a 1921 investigation of the Ku Klux Klan by a U.S. House of Representatives committee. He faces front, and several men sit in the background. Simmons was inspired to reestablish the Klan in 1915 after seeing... more
      Image of William J. Simmons, seated during a 1921 investigation of the Ku Klux Klan by a U.S. House of Representatives committee. He faces front, and several men sit in the background. Simmons was inspired to reestablish the Klan in 1915 after seeing D. W. Griffith's film, The Birth of a Nation, and learning about the Leo Frank trial in Atlanta, Georgia. less
    • Rights
    • Courtesy of Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.
    • Partner
    • Digital Library of Georgia; Library of Congress. Prints and Photographs Division
    • Contributing Institution
    • New Georgia Encyclopedia (Project)

  • From an address from Sigmund Livingston delivered as a message to the supreme convention of B'nai B'rith in session at Washington, DC, May 9, 1938. Courtesy of the University of Michigan via HathiTrust.

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    Facts about fictions concerning the Jew
    • Date
    • 1938
    • Creator
    • Livingston, Sigmund, 1872-1946
    • Description
    • Pages from an address from Sigmund Livingston delivered as a message to the supreme convention of B'nai B'rith in session at Washington, D.C., May 9, 1938.
    • Rights
    • Courtesy of the University of Michigan via HathiTrust. Public domain. Learn more at http://www.hathitrust.org/access_use
    • Partner
    • HathiTrust; University of Michigan
    • Contributing Institution
    • University of Michigan.

Anti-Defamation League and Ku Klux Klan

The Leo Frank case catalyzed significant growth of several sociopolitical organizations of the day, including both advocates for and against racial violence. The first of these was the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith (ADL), founded in 1913 by Sigmund Livingston, a Chicago attorneythe  same year as the Leo Frank trial. Although the creation of the ADL preceded the Leo Frank case, Frank’s experience bolstered Livingston’s belief that American Jews needed an organization that would challenge American anti-Semitism. The ADL remains an influential civil rights organization.

The second was the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), which was revived in Georgia at the end of the Frank case. Originally founded after the end of the Civil War, the KKK had been shut down by federal intervention during Reconstruction. Inflammatory editorials penned by Thomas Watson soon after Frank’s lynching incentivized the newly formed Klan, who burned a cross on top of Stone Mountain on Thanksgiving Day, 1915, to signify the organization’s rebirth. Several members of Leo Frank’s lynching party were also charter members of the new Klan.

The Klan’s white supremacist, anti-Semitic, anti-Catholic, and anti-immigration platform secured political influence in Georgia and nationwide—the KKK reached an estimated membership of five million people by the mid-1920s. Internal feuding and the exposure of Klan violence by journalists who infiltrated the organization eventually led to a steep decline in the group’s political influence by the late 1940s.