“Strange Fruit”: a Searing Protest Song

Posted by Speakeasy News > Tuesday 25 May 2021 > Celebrate

Jazz singer Billie Holiday’s 1939 recording of “Strange Fruit” has become one of the most potent protest songs in U.S. history. Its images of lynched African Americans accompanied the civil-rights movement but still evoke uncomfortable truths today. The song was written by a Jewish Communist high-school teacher, Abel Meeropol. It was originally a poem, written … Continue reading ““Strange Fruit”: a Searing Protest Song”

Billie Holiday: Blues and Civil Rights

Posted by Speakeasy News > Thursday 20 May 2021 > What's On

A new biopic of Billie Holiday alleges the blues singer was persecuted by the Federal Bureau of Narcotics over her support for the civil rights movement and her insistence on singing the powerful anti-lynching anthem “Strange Fruit.” Jazz singer Andra Day won a Best Actress Golden Globe for her portrayal of Holiday. The United States … Continue reading “Billie Holiday: Blues and Civil Rights”

African American History on the Web

Posted by Speakeasy News > Friday 15 January 2021 > Webpicks

This selection of sites and videos is useful for classes on African American history and culture, particularly the civil-rights movement and the Harlem Renaissance America’s Library is a minisite from the Library of Congress written for native-speaking children. It’s very simple and clear. It has sections about WEB Dubois (see our article on the Color … Continue reading “African American History on the Web”

Ella Fitzgerald Online Exhibition

Posted by Speakeasy News > Wednesday 26 April 2017 > Webpicks

2017 is the centenary of the birth of Ella Fitzgerald, one of the most recognized voices in jazz history. The Smithsonian National Museum of American History is hosting an exhibition in tribute to “The First Lady of Song”. The online version is an excellent authentic document for classroom use. The mini-site is fairly succinct, with … Continue reading “Ella Fitzgerald Online Exhibition”