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Strange Fruit Documentary Screenings

The anti-lynching protest song “Strange Fruit” has had some strange fruit indeed since Lewis Allen wrote it and Billie Holiday (pictured left) unforgettably recorded it; singers from all over the world have covered it, and it played a major role in exposing ignorant white audiences to the evils of unequal protection under the law. Joel Katz has produced a documentary, also called Strange Fruit, which takes as its subject the cultural influence and impact of the song. The film will be shown on PBS in 2002, but residents of the San Francisco Bay area and New York City can get an advance look at it on Nov. 2 and 7, respectively.

For the film, Katz gathered interviews with Amiri and Amina Baraka, Pete Seeger, Abbey Lincoln, veteran Civil Rights activist Reverend C.T. Vivian, Billie Holiday, Cassandra Wilson, and many others. Don Byron has written the score.

The Nov. 2 screening will be held at Pacific Film Archive, 2575 Bancroft Way, in Berkeley, CA. The Nov. 7 screening will be held at the American Museum of Natural History, 83rd St. & Central Park West, in New York City. Both screenings come under the auspices of the Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival.

Originally Published