Abel Meeropol Meaning

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“Strange Fruit” is a song written by Abel Meeropol and was made famous by the singer Billie Holliday. The big release of the song was in 1939, although it was written a few years before. Meeropol was weary about letting it out to the larger public, so he had it played in meetings, benefits, and house parties. Meeropol originally wrote it as a poem, which was inspired by a photograph of lynching. The song has historical context and is better understood once the listener knows some of the background of both the song and the writer himself. “According to the Center for Constitutional Rights, between 1882 and 1968, mobs lynched 4,743 persons in the United States, over 70 percent of them African-Americans” (“Strange Fruit” par 3). The song “Strange …show more content…

His personal background adds history to the song and is important to mention in order to understand the song even further than the historical context. Abel Meeropol attended public high school in the Bronx, where many other famous people had graduated from. After graduating school, he taught English for 17 years at Dewitt Clinton. He was not only a teacher, but he was also a poet and a social activist. He wrote the poem about the lynching photograph and it was publicized in the teacher’s union publication. In 1940, soon after the song was first sung by Billie Holliday, he was called to testify before a committee investigating communism in public schools. It was the witch-hunting Rapp-Coudert committee. They were put together to investigate communist influence in the public school system. This committee wanted to know if Meeropol had been asked by the American Communist Party to write the song. Meeropol was in fact a communist. Communism was highly concerned about civil rights and many other teachers in New York were also communists. He did not admit to a connection between the song and the party, however; although we all know that he did write the song as an effort against the

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