You might think that a single song couldn’t sustain a documentary, but Strange Fruit is no ordinary tune. The documentary airs on “Independent Lens” on many PBS stations tonight (check local listings).
The song about lynching was first recorded by Billie Holiday and written by Abel Meeropol (under the name Lewis Allen). He later wrote “The House I Live In” which was performed by Frank Sinatra in a Oscar winning 1945 film short promoting tolerance.
I saw it with over a thousand people at last year’s San Francisco Jewish Film Festival. During the Q&A after the film some people talked about their experience in the civil rights movement. Others about Meeropol’s adoption of the sons of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg. The PBS airing is sure to spark many smaller discussions.