A Strange and Bitter Crop: Billie Holiday's Song of the Century


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When Harry Smith, creator of The Anthology of American Folk Music and dean of American bohemians, received a Grammy just a few months before his death in 1991, he said, “I'm glad to say that my dreams came true--that I saw America changed through music." In the book Strange Fruit: Billie Holiday, Cafe Society, and an Early Cry for Civil Rights, David Margolick proposes that racism--a bedrock element of Americanism--was challenged and ultimately changed by a single song, a song sung by Holiday titled “Strange Fruit."

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