Strange Fruit

NPR's Radio Diaries - Strange Fruit: Voices of a Lynching - includes recollections of witnesses and participants in the Thomas Shipp and Abraham Smith lynchings.

 Elgin, IL. lynch mob

Elgin, IL. lynch mob

Strange Fruit, originally titled "Bitter Fruit," was first written as a poem by Abel Meeropol and published under the pseudonym Lewis Allan in 1937. Meeropol was a Jewish New Yorker and a socialist haunted by photographs of lynchings in other parts of the country.

The Thomas Shipp and Abraham Smith lynching photo taken in Marion, Indiana on August 7, 1930, by Lawrence Beitler, obsessed Meeropol.  A third man, James Cameron, avoided lynching that day.

Rare live footage of the first great protest song.