THIS DAY IN HISTORY: 20th April 1939
4/21/2012 12:30:02 PM -
Jazz singer Billie Holiday recorded "Strange Fruit" which became her biggest selling record.
Penned as a poem by a Jewish high school teacher from the Bronx in the United States it tells the story of the lynching of African American men.
There are no accurate records of the number of African American men (and women) who were lynched. Records compiled by the Tuskegee Institute put the number of lynchings between 1882 and 1968 at 3,445. However, there is some dispute over the definition of lynching and many other believe that the figure is much higher.
Here are the words to Strange Fruit:
Southern trees bear a strange fruit,
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,
Black bodies swinging in the Southern breeze,
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.
Pastoral scene of the gallant south
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth
Scent of magnolia
Sweet and fresh
Then the sudden smell of burning flesh
Here is a fruit
For the crows to pluck
For the rain to gather
For the wind to suck
For the sun to rot
For the tree to drop
Here is a strange
and bitter crop
And here is a live performance of Billie Holiday performing the song:
"Always bear in mind that people are not fighting for ideas, for the things in anyone's head. They are fighting to win material benefits to live better and in peace, to see their lives go forward, to guarantee the future of their children." Amilcar Cabral