In 1939 Billie Holiday released her single Strange Fruit, a song about the lynching of black people in the southern states of America.  This powerful song, originally a poem by Abel Meeropol, has the following lyrics:

Southern trees bear a strange fruit
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root
Black bodies swingin’ in the Southern breeze
Strange fruit hangin’ from the poplar trees

Pastoral scene of the gallant South
The bulgin’ eyes and the twisted mouth
Scent of magnolias sweet and fresh
Then the sudden smell of burnin’ flesh

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 the tree to drop
Here is a strange and bitter crop

 

Billy Holiday courageously continued to sing the song despite opposition from the US government and the FBI.  J Edgar Hoover, the head of the FBI, targeted Ms Holiday,