Billie Holiday

By: Jenell Johnson

Billie Holiday

Billie Holiday was born April 7, 1915 in Baltimore, Maryland. At birth her name was Eleanora Fagan, she later changed it to "Billie" after one of her favorite movie actress Billie Dove. Although she was very successful in the music business, she lived a very tragic life. She was born into poverty, struggled with drug addiction, racism and parasites in and out of the music business. She began performing in the 1930's and was thought of as the greatest jazz vocalist ever. She later died on July 17, 1959.

Strange Fruit By: Abel Meeropol

This poem influenced the song "Strange Fruit" by Billie Holiday:

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.

Strange Fruit by Billie Holiday- Lynching in the 1930s
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