The Great Migration and Lynching

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                                                         Leta Hendricks

Billie Holiday singing Strange Fruit in 1959

Strange Fruit Lyrics

Billie Holiday singing Strange Fruit as she recorded the song in 1939

Strange Fruit

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.


Written by Abel Meeropol (pseudonym: Lewis Allan)

Performed by Billie Holiday

World Copyright (excluding USA) Edward B Marks Music Company US copyright © 1939 (renewed) by Music Sales Corporation (ASCAP) All rights reserved.

African American and African Studies Librarian, Anthropology Librarian, and Comparative Studies Librarian

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