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Watch: The story behind “Strange Fruit,” the most haunting song about race in America

Watch: The story behind “Strange Fruit,” the most haunting song about race in America


https://timeline.com/abel-meeropol-strange-fruit-billie-holiday-music-history-c364bcbf3880
 
Watch: The story behind “Strange Fruit,” the most haunting song about race in America
Billie Holiday made it famous, but Abel Meeropol wrote it
Timeline Dec 6


Courtesy of Micheal and Robert Meeropol

“Strange Fruit” conjures the evil specter of lynching in America, but its lyrics avoid any explicit language of racial violence. Rather, the unspeakable horror of this American phenomenon is presented through dark metaphor. Interestingly, the song was written and composed by the son of Russian Jewish immigrants from the Bronx named Abel Meeropol. Of course, Billie Holiday’s raw delivery, which draws out the haunting poetry of each syllable, made the song famous. But Abel Meeropol is a fascinating character in his own right, whose deep sensitivity to injustice and human suffering enabled him to write the song about race in America that TIME magazine called “the song of the century.”
 
Strange Fruit” conjures the evil specter of lynching in America, but its lyrics avoid any explicit language of racial violence. Rather, the unspeakable horror of this American phenomenon is presented through dark metaphor. Interestingly, the song was written and composed by the son of Russian Jewish immigrants from the Bronx named Abel Meeropol. Of course, Billie Holiday’s raw delivery, which draws out the haunting poetry of each syllable, made the song famous. But Abel Meeropol is a fascinating character in his own right, whose deep sensitivity to injustice and human suffering enabled him to write the song about race in America that TIME magazine called “the song of the century.”



 





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