Atlanta 1913: Justice for Mary Phagan and Leo Frank (Historical Game)

by Janice HumeAndrea Briscoe

This open historical game was created through an ALG Pilot Grant for Developing an Open Historical Game. In this type of historical game, students read from specially designed game books that place them in moments of heightened historical tension. The class becomes a public body, or private gathering; students, in role, become particular persons from the period and/or members of factional alliances. Their purpose is to advance an agenda and achieve victory objectives through formal speeches, informal debate, negotiations, vote taking, and conspiracy. After a few preparatory sessions, the game begins, and the students are in charge. The instructor serves as an adviser and arbiter. Outcomes sometimes vary from the history; a debriefing session sets the record straight.

Authors' Description: "For the next month, you will participate in a reacting (role playing) game. In doing so you will consider issues of gender, poverty, child labor, race, anti-Semitism, politics, law and journalism ethics. You will step into the shoes of a person who lived in 1913 and will speak and write in his or her voice, even if you vehemently disagree with everything that person says or does. You will try to make sense of this terrible crime, debating what justice might look like for Mary Phagan, Leo Frank and the larger Atlanta community."


  • publisher
    University System of Georgia
  • publisher place
    Athens, GA