Strange fruit is and amazing dark poem told by Billie Holiday as very powerful song. Strange Fruit is a terrifying protest against the inhumane acts of racism. Strange Fruit was about the murders and lynching going on in the south at the time from public hangings to burnings. The south has a cruel and terrifying past that haunts the very people who still live down there and remind them that only a short time ago was no one prosecuted for killing someone of dark skin since whole towns were involved in it.
While the lyrics never mention lynching, the metaphor is painfully clear:
Southern trees bear a strange fruitBlood on the leaves and blood at the rootBlack bodies swingin' in the Southern breezeStrange fruit hangin' from the poplar
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The man behind "Strange Fruit" is a man from New York City named Abel Meeropol. In The Guardian news article by Caryl Phillips He says, "Meeropol was motivated to write the poem after seeing a photograph of two black teenagers, Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith, who had been lynched in Marion, Indiana on August 7 1930. Their bodies were hanging limply from a tree" (Phillips 5). Harold heft says in The Jewish Daily Forward, "The poem “Bitter Fruit” was first published in the union journal The New York Teacher, though widely and incorrectly believed to have been published in the Marxist publication The New Masses" (Heft 5). Meeropol had graduated from Dewitt Clinton in 1921; he later went on to teach English there for 17 years. He was also a poet and a social activist, Meeropol was disturbed and upset about the continuation of racism in America, and seeing a picture of a lynching put him over the edge. A man named Pelison Who wrote about Meeropol writes "Meeropol once said the photograph "haunted" him "for days." So he wrote a poem about it, which was then printed in a teacher’s union publication". Even though an amateur composer, Meeropol also set his words to music. He played it for a New York club owner who had later given it to Billie Holiday. When Holiday decided to sing "Strange Fruit," the song reached out and touched the