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Billie Holiday and Strange Fruit in the 21st Century

Billie Holiday and Strange Fruit in the 21st Century

One Note of Defiance
by Alexander Billet / September 28th, 2007

If anything is blatantly obvious in the post-Katrina era, it is that the foul stench of racism still permeates American society…

The message coming from Jena, Louisiana–that Blacks are expendable while white bigots get protection–has not been lost on the hard racists of this country. White supremacists have posted addresses and phone numbers belonging to family members of the Jena Six, calling for “justice.” The first week of classes at the University of Maryland were marred by someone hanging a noose similar to those in Jena in front of the Black cultural center. Several other campuses have reported an increase in race crimes…

Nooses and posse violence can’t help but conjure up images of Jim Crow lynch mobs, where whites were allowed to dole out their brutal form of summary justice without fear of repercussion–police would be a part of the mobs just as often as turn a blind eye. And, of course, the “strange fruit” left swinging from the trees would come to symbolize one of the darkest sides to American history.

Now seems as good a time as any to talk about this song. It is said that history goes in circles until it learns to correct itself. If so, then the memory of “Strange Fruit” continues to be important today.

It is truly amazing how heart-rending this song remains. Almost seventy years later it still sends chills up the spine and sticks hair on end. ..

The rest of the article is at Dissident Voice:

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