Many people know that the man who wrote the song was inspired by a photograph of a lynching. But they might not realize that he’s also tied to another watershed moment in America’s history. The man behind “Strange Fruit” is New York City’s Abel Meeropol, and he really has two stories.
When was the poem Strange Fruit published and who wrote it?
This anti-lynching poem was written by Abel Meeropol, a teacher, songwriter, and member of the American Communist Party. He published it in a union publication in 1937 and then set it to music.
What is Strange Fruit poem about?
“Strange Fruit” is a poem about racism and hatred. Specifically, it is about the treatment of black people by white people during a period of time roughly running from the end of the American Civil War up to the time of the poem’s composition in the 1930s.
Who wrote the song Strange Fruit that Billie Holiday songs?
Meeropol was very disturbed by the persistence of systemic racism in America and was motivated to write the poem “Bitter Fruit” after seeing a photo depicting the lynching of two Black teens in Indiana in 1930.
Was Billie Holiday’s father lynched?
In her words, the song “seemed to spell out all the things that had killed Pop.” While her father wasn’t lynched, Holiday believed the denial of his care from multiple “whites-only” hospitals was, in its own way, a kind of murder.
When was Strange Fruit written?
Meeropol first published “Strange Fruit” as a poem titled “Bitter Fruit” in 1937, inspired in part by a harrowing photograph of a 1930 lynching in Marion, Indiana. His wife later set the poem to music, which was performed at union rallies and eventually Madison Square Garden by Black vocalist Laura Duncan.
What is the theme of Strange Fruit?
The main themes of the poem “Strange Fruit” by Abel Meeropol are racism and violence. The poem was meant to be a critique of the real-life lynching of two African-American men by a mob of white people who were never trialed or convicted for their acts as a group.