Parade centres on a true incident - the 1913 trial of Jewish factory manager Leo Frank, who was accused and convicted of raping and murdering a 13-year-old employee, Mary Phagan. The trial, sensationalised by the US media, aroused antisemitic tensions in Atlanta and the state of Georgia. When Frank's death sentence was commuted to life in prison by the departing Governor of Georgia, John M. Slaton due to his detailed review of over 10,000 pages of testimony and possible problems with the trial, Leo Frank was transferred to a prison in Milledgeville, Georgia, where a lynching party seized and kidnapped him. Frank was taken to Phagan's hometown of Marietta, Georgia, and he was hanged from an oak tree. The events surround the investigation and trial led to two groups emerging, the revival of the defunct KKK and the birth of the Jewish Civil Rights organisation. Parade covers the trial, and also dramatises the love story between Leo and his wife Lucille, at the same time subtley examining class and race relations, prejudice, and the Deep South.