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11 S. J. Pol'y & Just. 32 (2017)
Bitter Fruit, Lynching, and the Legislative Reform to End It: A Timeline of Lynching, and Its Transformation into the Contemporary Era

handle is hein.journals/srebwsude11 and id is 34 raw text is: 




  BITTER   FRUIT,  LYNCHING, AND THE LEGISLATIVE REFORM TO
  END  IT: A TIMELINE OF LYNCHING, AND ITS TRANSFORMATION
                   INTO   THE  CONTEMPORARY ERA

                          By: Anelise R. Codrington
                                      1

                            Southern trees bear a strange fruit,
                            Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,
                            Black body 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 magnolia sweet and fresh,
                            And the sudden smell of burning flesh!

                            Here is a fruit for the crows to pluck,
                            For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck,
                            For the sun to rot, for a tree to drop,
                            Here is a strange and bitter crop.

       This is a poem written by Abel Meeropol, after he saw a disturbing picture
of a lynching, which haunted him for days. Jazz legend, Billie Holiday felt
inspired by this poem and later performed it as a song. Her career suffered
because of the painful honesty of this song. I chose to research this topic because
lynching has always intrigued me. Seeing pictures of men and women hanging
from trees, some burnt beyond recognition, haunted me. Seeing happy White
children having a picnic next to the bodies disturbed me. Devil in the Grove:
Thurgood  Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America, a New
York Times  bestselling book written by Gilbert King, sums it up perfectly:

       Of all the lynching photos Marshall had seen, though, it was the image of
       Rubin Stacy strung up by his neck on a Florida pine tree that haunted him
       most when  he traveled at night in the South. It wasn't the indentation of
       the rope that had cut into the flesh below the dead man's chin, or even the
       bullet holes riddling his body, that causes Marshall, drenched now in
       sweat, to stir in his sleep. It was the virtually angelic faces of the white
       children, all of them dressed in their Sunday clothes, as they posed,

1 Anelise R. Codrington is a J.D. Candidate at Mercer University School of Law, class of 2017 in
Macon, Georgia. She was born in Nottingham, England, and immigrated to Atlanta, Georgia when
she was seventeen years old. During her time at Mercer, Anelise has competed in moot court
competitions, and participated in several study abroad programs. Anelise has interests in criminal
law and human rights. Upon graduating from law school, Anelise plans to pursue a career in
criminal prosecution.
                                     32

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