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“Strange Fruit” Tells Story of Iconic Civil Rights Song

Gary Golio's new children's book examines the power of music to spur change

"Strange Fruit: Billie Holiday and the Power of a Protest Song"
"Strange Fruit: Billie Holiday and the Power of a Protest Song"

Gary Golio’s newest book, Strange Fruit: Billie Holiday and the Power of a Protest Song (Millwood Press), tells a story of personal bravery, and how a song raising awareness of a horrifying subject—lynching—became an example of how music and art can affect social change.

Written by Bronx schoolteacher and activist Abel Meeropol, its performance advocated by Barney Josephson, owner of New York City’s first integrated club, and courageously first sung by Holiday at Barney’s in 1939, “Strange Fruit” left patrons stunned, inspired, and sometimes angered.

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