Regrann from @cair_national
- Strange Fruit Revisited
“Southern trees bear 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”
Strange Fruit~Billie Holiday
The words and haunting melody of that song recorded in 1939 and made ominously famous by jazz singer Billie Holiday played itself over and over in my head during my entire time in Alabama. It’s one thing to read about the history of the brutal lynchings, burnings, beatings and mutilations that was visited upon Black men, women, and children during the infamous Jim Crow Era of the South following the Civil War.
It’s a whole other reality to stand upon what is now hallowed ground where Black men, women, and children risked their lives for the right to be free with the same human rights as white people. They literally stared down the barrel of guns, billy clubs, dogs and water cannons. They confronted the unbridled hatred of white supremacy with a courage of faith and conviction that speaks volumes to their moral and spiritual compass.
I have to be honest. I wasn’t sure whether I was emotionally prepared to confront this brutal legacy that was so raw and uncompromising in its brutal detail. These pilgrimages to these sacred sights aren’t for the faint of heart. It is overwhelming in its horrific detail but absolutely necessary in order to ensure that one never forget what occurred here. Do not let your children and grandchildren forget.
I was part of a CAIR delegation of over 30 members from around the country who embarked on a pilgrimage to commemorate the opening of Legacy Museum & National Memorial for Peace and Justice. It was a monumental undertaking that left an indelible impact on all the attendees. For some, it was a new education into the brutal history of America’s troubled racist past. For others, like myself who grew up in that history, it served as a painful reminder never to be forgotten and never to be repeated. Each one of us left with a deeper appreciation of our mission at #CAIR
and to strive for equal justice and equality for all human beings.
Abdul Mubarak-Rowe, CAIR-New Jersey