December 17, 2002
Songs for Trent Lott

Virginia Postrel points to Eric Olsen's post on Songs for Trent Lott. The most horrifying... well, one of the most horrifying... or, rather, one of many very horrifying is Billie Holiday's "Strange Fruit":

Blogcritics: Songs For Lott

Southern trees bear strange fruit.
There's blood on the leaves,
There's blood at the roots.
Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze;
There's strange fruit hanging from the poplar tree.

The scenic view of the quiet south;
Those bulging eyes, the twisted mouth.
The scent of magnolia comes as sweet and fresh.
Suddenly: the stench of black burning flesh.
Now here my friends,Here is a fruit for the crows to pluck.
A tear for the rain to gather;
The roaring wind to suck.
For the sun to rise,
And those trees to drop:
And I hear there's a strange and bitter crop. Posted by DeLong at December 17, 2002 12:44 PM | Trackback

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It should be remembered that lynchings were not a solely southern phenomena ( I remember seeing photos from a lynching in Duluth, MN; the look of celebration on the faces of the murdering public will always stay with me), and that the well organized race riots, like that which occurred in Oklahoma in the 1920s, were even worse instances of racially motivated mass terror. If freed slaves and their decendents had received Federal protection of their right to life, to vote, and to bear arms (which is an often ignored aspect of this travesty), from the end of the Civil War on, I wonder it would have been necessary in 1964 to outlaw segregation by private businesses that offered public accomodation, or would capitalism's destructive nature have eroded private segregation? Of course, laws mandating segregation would have to have been overturned by Federal action, or the assumtion has to be made that a black population with their ability to vote unimpeded could have seen such laws overturned, state by state.

Posted by: Will Allen on December 17, 2002 01:47 PM

Isn't the Supreme Court debating whether cross burning _in_ the yard of an African American family is protected under the 1st Amendment? What kind of world am I living in???

Posted by: Jean-Philippe Stijns on December 17, 2002 02:39 PM

It ain't much of a debate; it will likely be a 9-0 vote that such actions do not constitute protected speech.

Posted by: Will Allen on December 17, 2002 02:53 PM

You're probably right, Will, but it is still puzzling to me that the Court thinks it has to rule on the right to burn crosses while it does not seem to consider for more than a second that the Patriot Act violates the Constitution. Disturbing, isn't it?

Posted by: Jean-Philippe Stijns on December 17, 2002 08:58 PM

Jean-Phillippe, don't forget that he Supreme Court is an Apellate court of last resort. It only hears appeals from lower level courts. So far, none has been presented to the court that involves the Patriot act. Until such a case is presented, the Supremes cannot act.

Posted by: Chuck Nolan on December 18, 2002 04:56 AM

Having grown up in Indiana, I can offer strong validation of Will Allen's point. The great State of Indiana had, at the time of my childhood, provided the KKK with more Grand Dragons than any other state. So, at least, was the brag (yup, brag) I heard from some of the adults in my town. Interesting, then, that when the KKK planned a march through the center of my county"s county seat once in the 1960s, hundreds of the county's citizens (who numbered only in the thousands), white and black, showed up and linked hands around the square -- you find a way in, you can march. The KKK went home.

Posted by: K Harris on December 18, 2002 07:09 AM

Uh, Brad do I infer that this is new to you? You are dating yourself, or non-dating yourself. At Antioch College in the 50s, we practiced free love, communism and abstention from bathing -- hippies before hippies. "Strange Fruit" was a staple of the culture, though I think the preferred version was Josh White. On a pleasanter note, he also did a cool version of "One Meat Ball."

Posted by: jda on December 18, 2002 07:14 AM

Strange Fruit may be best known for Billie Holliday's rendition, but it was actually written by a New York City schoolteacher named Abel Meeropol (who won the Academy Award for another of his songs, The House I Live In).

Posted by: Steven desJardins on December 18, 2002 04:42 PM

You Liberals and your blindness is sinking this country into darkness . Someday you will realize this.

Posted by: on December 20, 2002 08:38 AM

You Liberals and your blindness is sinking this country into darkness . Someday you will realize this.

Posted by: Thom Andrews on December 20, 2002 08:39 AM,8224,718311,00.html§ion=back&issue=2002-11-30&id=2544#articletop

Posted by: NA on December 22, 2002 02:45 AM
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