I still get chills when I hear Billie Holiday sing “Strange Fruit.” Those chills came again just now as I listened again to the song, which was originally written in 1937 as a poem by a teacher to protest racism in our country. Lynchings of blacks had been going on before the turn of the 20th century and in isolated spots in our country were still going on even later.

Southern Trees bear a strange fruit

 Blood on the leaves and blood at the root

 Black bodies swingin’ in the Southern breeze

 Strange fruit hangin’ from the polar trees


 Pastoral scene of the gallant South

 The Bulgin’ eyes and the twisted mouth

 Scent of magnolias sweet and fresh

 Then the sudden smell of burnin’ 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 the tree to drop

 Here is a strange and bitter crop.”


It took a lot of courage for Holiday to record that song, but then she had a lot of courage during her troubled life that ended July 17, 1959 at the young age of 44 while under arrest in a hospital in New York City.

Racism still exists in our country especially now under a racist president that is leading a white nationalist push to reestablish the old order that excludes minorities and immigrants, so this song is still relevant even if blacks are not hung in trees anymore.

It troubles me no end, though, that we would do such a thing to fellow humans and is a warning that we must not turn our backs on things we disagree for fear that we might find ourselves right back in those old times.

Treating each other differently just because of different skin color, religion or nationality is an affront to human dignity, equal justice, liberty and freedom. We must never forget our ugly past and must never let that past creep back into our present.

Be well pal.

Be careful out there.

Have a great day.

You are loved.