By Billie Holiday and Abel Meeropol (1937)
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.
Pastoral scene of the gallant south,
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth,
Scent of magnolias, sweet and fresh,
Then the sudden smell of burning flesh.
Here is fruit for the crows to pluck,
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck,
For the sun to rot, for the trees to drop,
Here is a strange and bitter crop.
When we hear "strange fruits" it's easy to imagine an exotic fruit like strawberries, blueberries, pineapples, watermelon... However, in this song you would be wrong. There is a metaphor about some terrible acts that happened in America. The song condemned American racism, particularly the lynching of African Americans that had occurred chiefly in the South but also in all regions of the United States. In conclusion, it talks about all the corpses that hung on trees.