Symbolism In Strange Fruit, By Billie Holiday

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Register to read the introduction… 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 hearts of millions through even …show more content…
Popular images are of an angry white mob stringing a black man up to a tree is which would only be half of the story. Lynching is an act of terror meant to spread fear among blacks, with also a broad social purpose of maintaining white supremacy in the economic, social, and political spheres. Although the practice of lynching had existed since before slavery, it was gaining momentum, when black towns sprang up across the South and the African American community began to make political and economic inroads by registering to vote, establishing businesses and running for public office. Many whites, landowners, and poor whites felt they were threatened by the rise in black communities. Foremost on their minds was a fear of sex between the races. Some whites embraced the idea that black men were sexual predators and wanted integration in order to be with white women. Lynching’s were frequently committed with notorious public displays. Like executions by guillotine in medieval times, lynching’s were often advertised in newspapers and drew large crowds of white families. Southern white men saw themselves as protectors of their way of life and their white women. Lynching’s were covered in local newspapers with headlines spelling out the horrific details. Photos of victims, with exultant white observers posed next to them, were taken for distribution in

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