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Atlanta Martyr Joe Jung, 1917

Joe Jung (no relation), who integrated Atlanta's schools in 1913 by gaining admission for his children to attend white schools, was slain in 1917 during an argument with James MacDonald, a concessions manager on the grounds of the Southeastern Fairground.  Jung was a local businessman who had a concession at the fair.

At the trial MacDonald testified that when he asked Jung to move his location from its site, Jung became angry. Fearful that Jung was going attack him with a three-pronged ice cream cone machine, MacDonald claimed he acted in self-defense.  The newspaper made no mention of what type of weapon was used by MacDonald but it did cause fatal injury to Jung.


At the trial in 1919, MacDonald was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to prison for 20 years but he filed an appeal which the state Supreme Court granted.  A bail of $10,000 was set because it was thought he might flee to Mississippi where he had been a prominent politician and was a friend of Mississippi Governor Bilbo.

The second trial in 1919 resulted in a mistrial.  In 1922 a third trial was held and the charge was reduced to a misdemeanor with a fine of $500, which MacDonald agreed to pay in lieu of working on the chain gang for one year.

So, from a sentence of 20 years in the penitentiary, Joe Jung's slayer received no jail time and only a $500 fine.


Acknowledgement: Thanks to Matthew Kramer, an Atlanta attorney, for providing leads on this story.
Trivia: Kramer noted that one of MacDonald's attorneys, Robert P Jones, was the father of the legendary golfer, Bobby Jones.

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