Today in History - April 20
Billie Holiday records Strange Fruit, 1939.
Noted as the first major rallying cry for the Civil Rights movement, Strange Fruit was a poem originally written by Abel Meeropol, and first performed by his wife and singer Laura Duncan, at protest venues in New York City. However, it wasn’t until Billie Holiday recorded the song for Commodore Records that it became a major hit.Southern trees bear 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 magnolias, sweet and fresh,
Then the sudden smell of burning flesh.
Here is fruit for the crows to pluck,
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck,
For the sun to rot, for the trees to drop,
Here is a strange and bitter crop.