“Strange Fruit” written for Billie Holiday and performed by her on Decca recording, 1946, Los Angeles, live Herbie Hancock recently recorded a version of “Strange Fruit,” I’ve been told by a music teacher
Lynching of Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith
Todaywe will readJohn Steinbeck’s short story “The Vigilante”. You will handwrite answers to the six numbered questions on the back of the story packet. Due: At the end of today’s class.
Lynching and Burning Omaha, Nebraska September 29, 1919
“Strange Fruit” Southern trees bear strange fruit: Blood on the leaves and blood at the root. Black bodies swingin’ in the southern breeze; Strange fruit hangin’ from the poplar trees. Pastoral scene of the gallant south, The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth. Scent of magnolia, sweet and fresh; Then the sudden smell of burning flesh. Here is a fruit for the crows to pluck, For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck, For the sun to rot, for the tree to drop. Here is a strange and bitter crop.
Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906) We Wear the Mask WE wear the mask that grins and lies, It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,— This debt we pay to human guile; With torn and bleeding hearts we smile, And mouth with myriad subtleties. Why should the world be over-wise, In counting all our tears and sighs? Nay, let them only see us, while We wear the mask. We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries To thee from tortured souls arise. We sing, but oh the clay is vile Beneath our feet, and long the mile; But let the world dream otherwise, We wear the mask!
Jean Toomer (1894-1967) People To those fixed on white,White is white,To those fixed on black,It is the same,And red is red,Yellow, yellow-Surely there are such sightsIn the many colored world,Or in the mind.The strange thing is thatThese people never see themselvesOr you, or me.Are they not in their minds?Are we not in the world?This is a curious blindnessFor those that are color blind.What queer beliefsThat men who believe in sightsDisbelieve in seers.O people, if you but usedYour other eyesYou would see beings.
Countee Cullen (1903-1946) Saturday's ChildSome are teethed on a silver spoon,With the stars strung for a rattle;I cut my teeth as the black raccoon--For implements of battle. Some are swaddled in silk and down,And heralded by a star;They swathed my limbs in a sackcloth gownOn a night that was black as tar.For some, godfather and goddameThe opulent fairies be;Dame Poverty gave me my name,And Pain godfathered me.For I was born on Saturday--"Bad time for planting a seed,"Was all my father had to say,And, "One mouth more to feed."Death cut the strings that gave me life,And handed me to Sorrow,The only kind of middle wifeMy folks could beg or borrow.
Langston Hughes (1902-1967) HARLEM What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun? Or fester like a sore-- And then run? Does it stink like rotten meat? Or crust and sugar over-- like a syrupy sweet? Maybe it just sags like a heavy load. Or does it explode?
Gwendolyn Brooks (1917-2000) THE POOL PLAYERS. SEVEN AT THE GOLDEN SHOVEL. We real cool. We Left school. We Lurk late. We Strike straight. We Sing sin. We Thin gin. We Jazz June. We Die soon.
Ralph Ellison (1914-1994) first two pages of Invisible Man (1952) in textbook Invisible Man won the National Book Award in 1953