Monday, May 22, 2017

Strange Fruit

Mississippi State Rep. Karl Oliver (Republican) recently called for the lynching of anyone who tries to take down Confederate memorials.
The Shubuta bridge in Mississippi, also known as "The Hanging Bridge"

In 1936, an American poet and songwriter named Abel Meeropol wrote a poem he later set to music. In 1939, blues legend Billie Holiday made a heart wrenching recording of the song.

This is the crop that Southern Republicans wish to resurrect.
Southern trees bear a strange fruit
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root
Black bodies 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 magnolias, sweet and fresh
Then the sudden smell of burning flesh

Here is fruit for the crows to pluck
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck
For the sun to rot, for the trees to drop
Here is a strange and bitter crop
When Southern Republicans talk about restoring "greatness" to America, lynching is one of the things they think of. Hanging political opponents and "uppity niggers" from the nearest tree as a lesson to those blacks who might try to vote or speak out was a common occurrence in the Old South they long for.

Researchers have counted over 4000 African-American citizens lynched in the states of the old Confederacy between 1877 and 1950 and this almost certainly understates the total. Mississippi was the leading state in lynchings. The most recent lynching I could find of a black man in Mississippi was 2015.

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