Strange Fruit by Lillian E. SmithShe stood at the gate, waiting; behind her the swamp, in front of her Colored Town, beyond it, all Maxwell. Tall and slim and white in the dusk, the girl stood there, hands on the picket gate.
Nonnie Anderson, a beautiful, college-educated, light-skinned, young black woman stands waiting for her lover, Tracy Deen, the son of a distinguished white doctor. Set in Maxwell, Georgia, during the early 1920s, this is quite simply a recipe for disaster. I knew instantly this would be anything but a simple read, however; and I was right. This novel, published in 1944, offers a profound and intricate examination of race relations in the south. Why have I never heard of Strange Fruit or author Lillian E. Smith before?! Everyone should be reading this one! A book like this is just as relevant now as it was seventy-four years ago when it was a bestseller.
There are a number of characters in this short novel, and the reader is privy to the most intimate and complex thoughts of many of them – black and white, man and woman. I can think of no other book I have read that penetrates into such depths of the mind when it comes to thoughts on race. Although I did not agree with most of them (in fact was quite angered by the majority), I grasped where these ideas derived and how they remained embedded within the psyche of these characters. Lillian Smith was brilliant and perceptive. The plot occurs during a week when a revivalist meeting has set up camp in Maxwell, with Brother Dunwoodie the prominent and influential preacher who will leave an indelible mark on this small town. It shows how blind devotion and religious fervor can cause devastating effects on a community. Across White Town came the scream of Brother Dunwoodie’s voice, calling white folks to God. Like calling hogs. Hogs so fat from devouring their black fellows they’d lumpishly rush into the sea and be drowned rather than heed the warning.
The author demonstrates through her characters and their actions how white supremacy is upheld by ignorant prejudice, the unjustified need for man to uplift himself by ruling over those he considers weaker and at a disadvantage. As one character states: Everybody is gouging his living out of somebody beneath him – singing hymns as he gouges… The system is also perpetuated by those who turn a blind eye to the problem. Sam Perry is Maxwell’s black doctor. Not only does he treat those blacks needing medical attention, he is also the solid rock that most of the black citizens lean on for support, particularly the Anderson family – Nonnie and sister Bess and brother Ed. When grieving over a tragic event in the community, Sam says to his white friend, Tom Harris: Respectable white folks don’t like to get mixed up in things like this. No. And respectable colored folks don’t either. So we shut our eyes, you shut your eyes, I shut my eyes… Lillian Smith points out a crucial fact – it is the responsibility of everyone to stamp out racism and hatred.
Strange Fruit is not an easy book to find. Nor is it an easy book to read. It will make you angry and it will break your heart. But it will also enlighten you, move you, and will force you to probe your own beliefs and your responsibility towards righting a wrong. Highly recommended.
White man, brown man, stared across the shadows of the room, across three centuries of the same old shadow.
Strange Fruit: Lillian Smith deconstructs the South’s peculiar institutions…
Strange Fruit was filmed in , but as a 33 minute short not a full length feature. The Author:. With Snelling, Smith created and edited Psuedopodia , a literary magazine designed to feature work about race in the South. Smith spent most of her life as a political activist, fighting against segregation. Her novel, Strange Fruit , about an illicit affair between a white woman and a black man, made her a public figure and the subject of much controversy.
Books come to us in all sorts of ways. Some come assigned; some come recommended; some come by accident. This is a book with a remarkable history. Vilified as obscene, there were numerous attempts to ban the book. The controversy made the book a best seller, in fact the best selling novel of No less a personage than Eleanor Roosevelt became a champion of the book.
Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Strange Fruit Strange Fruit tells the tragic story of Nonnie Anderson, an accomplished young black woman in the Georgia of the Jim Crow days, and of the young white man, Tracy Deen, by whom she becomes pregnant. Click here to see the rest of this review. Strange Fruit tells the tragic story of Nonnie Anderson, an accomplished young black woman in the Georgia of the Jim Crow days, and of the young white man, Tracy Deen, by whom she becomes pregnant. Strange Fruit is the best-known work of the liberal Southern writer, Lillian Smith, who lived between and Published in , it is a critique of segregation and racism during the years of the Jim Crow laws. The name comes, ultimately, from a piece of work by the white, Jewish, high school teacher, Abel Meeropol.
Strange Fruit is a bestselling novel debut by American author Lillian Smith that deals with the then-forbidden and controversial theme of interracial.
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A tent revival serves as the backdrop for this novel of racial tension and transition in which a white man is shot, and an African American man hung and burned in retaliation. The novel focuses on the relationship between a black woman and a white man at a time during which that type of relationship was not accepted. - Strange Fruit is a bestselling novel debut by American author Lillian Smith that deals with the then-forbidden and controversial theme of interracial romance.
Thank you! Prelude and aftermath of a lynching in Georgia. Nonnie Anderson, of very light color, has made Tracy Deen, problem son of the doctor, the focus of her life, and is bearing his child. Tracy, who had thought he could break over the color line, finds that family pressure is too great, submits to marrying the girl of their choice and pays Henry, his life long companion, to marry Nonnie. Nonnie's brother, Ed, hears of the deal, kills Tracy.