THE SOCIAL HISTORY OF A SONG

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email: jkatz@igc.org

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These are the opening words to one of the world's most famous protest songs. Its music and lyrics were written by Abel Meeropol (pen name Lewis Allan), a Bronx public school teacher — but are often attributed to Billie Holiday, who first sang "Strange Fruit" in 1939 at Barney Josephson's Café Society, New York's first integrated nightclub.


The history of this anti-lynching song explores the alliance between American Jews and African-Americans in the struggle for civil rights.


With:

Billie Holiday, Amiri Baraka, Abbey Lincoln, Pete Seeger, Cassandra Wilson, and Michael and Robby Meeropol.


(2002, 57 minutes)

For more information, visit the PBS website:

www.pbs.org/strangefruit

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Southern trees bear a strange fruit

Blood on the leaves and blood at the root

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