The Story of “Strange Fruit” #onemichistory #shorts

"Strange Fruit" was recorded by Holiday in 1939 and she first performed at the integrated Café Society nightclub that same year. The lyrics of "Strange Fruit" were written by Abel Meeropol, a educator and anti-racist activist, and was adapted from a 1937 poem titled "Bitter Fruit." The poem, also written by Meeropol, was published in a teachers union journal. the poem was inspired by a photograph of the 1930 lynching of Abram Smith and Thomas Shipp in Marion, Indiana. Meeropol set his poem to music himself, and it was initially performed in social settings by his wife and their friends, eventually spreading around New York. Both the poem and the song are meant to draw attention to the horrors of lynching of african americna's in this country. The song became closely aligned with Holiday during her career as she sought to perform it. Café Society founder Barney Josephson even developed rules to ensure that the power of the song was fully transferred onto the audience. Those rules included Holiday performing "Strange Fruit" as the final song of her set and any waiter service stopping before the song began.