Extraordinary Stories of Ordinary Life

Strange Fruit, Revisited

Over the past few years, there’s been a movement to tear down the Confederate monuments dotted all over the south. And as you probably know, it’s made a lot of people angry. The proposed removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee was one of the motivations for the ‘Unite The Right’ rally in Charlottesville that turned violent last summer.

At the same time, there are some new monuments going up. On April 26, the nation’s first lynching memorial will open in Montgomery, Alabama. It’s called the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, and it pays tribute to the more than 4,400 black people who were killed by lynch mobs between 1877 and 1950. Visitors will walk underneath more than 800 suspended columns, each representing a county where a lynching occurred.

One of those columns represents a lynching in Marion, Indiana. It’s the lynching that inspired the song, Strange Fruit.

It’s also the only known lynching where a person survived. His name was James Cameron. This is his story – and the story of the white residents who witnessed and took part in the events of that day.

This is Strange Fruit.

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