Academic journal article Language Arts

Strange Fruit: Billie Holiday and the Power of a Protest Song

Academic journal article Language Arts

Strange Fruit: Billie Holiday and the Power of a Protest Song

Article excerpt

Strange Fruit: Billie Holiday and the Power of a Protest Song Written by Gary Golio Illustrated by Charlotte Riley- Webb Millbrook, 2017, unpaged, ISBN 978-1-4677-5123-0

In 1939, at Cafe Society, a Black jazz club in New York City, popular singer Billie Holiday debuted a protest song, one that would rock the jazz world and help spur the Civil Rights Movement. Written by Abel Meeropol, son of Jewish immigrants, the song exposed a horrific, stomach-turning expression of racism, the act of lynching. In a striking picturebook biography for middle grade and young adult readers, Gary Golio relays the story of this song through the life story of Billie Holiday. Tracing her path through a difficult childhood to recognition as an accomplished jazz singer, Golio emphasizes Holiday's frustration with her mistreatment as a Black artist in a segregated and prejudiced America. …

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