Tuesday, June 20, 2000 FULL SHOW | HEADLINES | PREVIOUS: Gary Graham Execution 3 Days Away — Protests...

Strange Fruit

download:   Audio Get CD/DVD More Formats
This is viewer supported news

Billie Holiday singing "Strange Fruit." The song has been called a declaration of war. The beginning of the civil rights movement. One of the ten songs that changed the world. The song’s lyrics describe a lynched Black man hanging from a poplar tree.

“Southern trees bear a strange fruit, Blood on the leaves and blood at the root, Black body 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 magnolia sweet and fresh, And the sudden smell of burning flesh!

Here is a fruit for the crows to pluck, For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck, For the sun to rot, for a tree to drop, Here is a strange and bitter crop." In 1939, its performance sparked controversy — and sometimes violence — wherever Billie Holiday went. It was 16 years before Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama bus. 25 years before Martin Luther King led the March on Washington. 60 years before Time magazine named it the best song of the century. We turn now to a new book called ??Strange Fruit: Billie Holiday, cafe society, and an early cry for civil rights.


  • David Margolick, author of ??Strange Fruit: Billie Holiday, cafe society, and an early cry for civil rights. He is currently a contributing editor for Vanity Fair. Prior to that, he was the National Legal Affairs Editor for the New York Times.


Recent Shows More

Full News Hour


    Black Lives Matter: New Film on Jordan Davis Captures Family’s Struggle to Convict White Vigilante
    We are broadcasting from the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, where a new film takes on the subject of the growing nationwide protests over the killing of unarmed African Americans by examining one of the cases to make national headlines in recent years: the killing of 17-year-old Jordan Davis. The film, "3 1/2 Minutes," tells the story of what happened on Nov. 23, 2012, when four teenagers pulled into a Florida gas station to buy gum and cigarettes. They were soon confronted by Michael Dunn, a middle-aged white man who pulled...

Creative Commons License The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to democracynow.org. Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.