“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.” -Abel Meeropol
Poet and songwriter Abel Meeropol wrote that lament after seeing a photograph of two black teenagers hanging from a tree. Strange Fruit was later made famous by Billie Holiday. But a third boy escaped being lynched that fateful day, 80 years ago, in Marion, Indiana. James Cameron was believed to be the only African American to have survived a lynching. Decades later, a box of recordings was found in a basement. They contained the recollections of people who witnessed or took part in the events of that day.
Photo credit: Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith, August 7, 1930, photographed by Lawrence Beitler.