Today's Strange Fruit Mention of the Day comes to us from Torri Williams, a Coalition Leader of the Marion Community Remembrance Project. The city of Marion in Indiana served as the inspiration for Abel Meeropol's anti-lynching song, "Strange Fruit," when he came across a gruesome photo of the 1930 lynching of Thomas Shipp and Abe Smith which took place there.
Torri shared with us the winning entry of a recent Racial Justice Art Contest, a sculpture entitled "Strange Fruit," created by 17-year-old student artist, Claudia McGinness.
In Claudia's own words, here's how she describes the sculpture:
"Performed by Billie Holiday, the song 'Strange Fruit' became famous for its striking and harsh imagery of terror lynching in the South. Inspired by the song, my sculpture uses thorny wire, red beads to represent the 'blood on the leaves' and victims of lynching, and wire roots to represent the 'blood on the roots.' The chains represent the imprisonment, pain, and oppression faced by African Americans throughout history. The seeds of racism are implanted deeply in the core of our country’s history and society, which is evident through the healthcare, education, and justice system. Although lynchings have subsided, racial injustice continues to pervade many aspects of society. The murder of African Americans at the hands of police officers mirrors the inhumane violence lynchings were known for. Through this project, I have been made aware of my ignorance of my own history and the history of my community. Before this project, I had never heard the song Strange Fruit and had barely touched the surface of the history of racial injustice in Indiana. If schools and individual people took the time to learn about the history of racial injustice within their own communities, they could avoid ignorance and work towards change."
Sculpture: wire and bead 7"x 8"x 12"
Artist: Claudia McGinness