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Strange Fruit

Strange Fruit, the powerful poem written by Abel Meeropol, a Jewish teacher from the Bronx, that transformed and hits home via Billie Holliday, is a powerful song that still packs a heart-wrenching punch. The incredible song about unjust violence, lynchings and murder against blacks still resonates.

Southern trees bear a strange fruit, Blood on the leaves and blood at the root, Black bodies swinging in the Southern breeze, Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.

God damn, has time changed? Somewhat. Should we have expected it to by now? Yes. But, should we be surprised that it hasn’t? No.

The Troy Davis situation is terrible. He was put to death by lethal injection late Wednesday for allegedly murdering an off-duty police officer in 1989. Thousands of Americans were convinced of his innocence and rallied behind the cause. Not for him to be freed but for him to at lease be granted a fair trial due to 7 main witnesses retracting their testimony. Those who really needed the convincing though, the U.S. justice system, were not and he was put to death at 11:08 p.m. EDT. Should we be surprised that it turned out the way it did? No, not at all. There are plenty of Troy Davis’ across the country and in history.

The “internets” were ablaze tonight and were divided, of course. Between people tweeting about the present situation, to part-time activists brushing off their imaginary black panther gloves, to people genuinely wanting to learn about the situation and then those who completely ignored it. And then there was that one person who tried to relate the situation to Rodney King, claiming that he was murdered by 4 cops…though he’s still alive. 0_o

Pastoral scene of the gallant South, The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth, Scent of magnolia sweet and fresh, And the sudden smell of burning flesh.

Thousands of people plastered their xerox’d photo of Davis and wore it with hopes of him being granted clemency. Were we hoping that some little stitch of faith would help him in his final hour? Would his victory be a large victory for plenty of injustices against minorities when people like Casey Anthony get to roam the streets, tweet freely and obtain a book deal? 

I think the reason why so many people felt so strongly about this is because when situations like this arise you realize your own mortality. It also alerts you to the possible target on your back that you tend to ignore and have ignored majority of your life. But should you live like you know you’re targeted? No. How will you live? How will you function correctly without feeling an anticipated and dreaded attack one day?

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 a tree to drop, Here is a strange and bitter crop.

You can’t live like that but you must be prepared. And you mustn’t be surprised! You must educate yourselves and not let the media educate you. We have to be good. Believe in yourselves! Do not place your whole beliefs in Barack, who was very silent tonight regarding this issue. Believe in your God or whoever your supreme being is and believe in the love of life and the value of life.

This isn’t the last Troy Davis.

Be good. Be aware. Ask questions. Pray for everyone you love. Educate yourselves.