With Ben Brantley, chief theater critic of the New York Times; Melissa Fay Greene, an award-winning journalist and author of “The Temple Bombing;” William Jelani Cobb, associate professor of history and director of the Institute for African American Studies at the University of Connecticut; Mark Silk, professor of religion and director of The Leonard Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life; James F. Jones, Jr., president of Trinity College; and Gerald Moshell, professor of music.
“Parade” is a work of musical theater inspired by a notorious trial a century ago in Atlanta, Georgia. Leo Frank, a Jewish, Brooklyn-bred, Cornell-educated, and recently married manager of a pencil factory, was wrongly accused and found guilty of murdering a 13-year-old girl in his employ. Some legal historians believe that the all-white jury was the first to convict a white man on the basis of a black man’s testimony. Frank’s death sentence was commuted by the governor to life in prison, but vigilantes unhappy with this decision abducted the prisoner and lynched him.
Anti-semitism, the cults of Southern chivalry and the “flower of white womanhood,” memories of the Confederacy’s losses and defeat in the Civil War 50 years earlier, and a declining agrarian society’s resentment of northern industrialists are undercurrents in both the historical record and the musical.
Ben Brantley, chief theater critic of the New York Times, and Gerald Moshell will discuss the place “Parade” holds in the history of the serious American musical. Issues raised by the Leo Frank case will be discussed by Melissa Fay Greene, an award-winning journalist and author of “The Temple Bombing,” a book exploring Atlanta Jewry and the Civil Rights movement, and William Jelani Cobb, Associate Professor of History and Director of the Institute for African American Studies at the University of Connecticut. How the Leo Frank case has affected the municipal psyche of Atlanta for 100 years will be discussed by Mark Silk, Professor of Religion and Director of the Leonard Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life at Trinity College, and a former columnist for the Atlanta Constitution, and James F. Jones, Jr., President of Trinity College, a native of Atlanta whose earliest recollections include hearing his grandparents speak of the Leo Frank case.