Abel Meeropol and Strange Fruit

This single-case exhibition, created in conjunction with the Boston University Music Society's 5th Annual Graduate Musicology Conference; "Music and Violence: Conflict, Resistance, and Reconciliation," briefly documents the creation of the song Strange Fruit, written by highschool teacher/political activist Abel Meeropol, under his pen name, "Lewis Allan."

The exhibition includes the original sheet music to the song, published by the Edward B. Marks Corporation in 1940; along with a letter from publisher Herbert Marks, apologizing for the song's sluggish sales noting that it is "being sung around," but only at "progressive gatherings." There is also a letter from Harlem Renaissance poet and assistant editor of Opportunity magazine, Countee Cullen, writing to accept two poems by Meeropol for future publication; a letter from former vice president and editor of the New Republic, Henry Wallace, thanking Meeropol for sending along a song and his interest in the new political party (the Progressive Party) that Wallace was forming. Lastly, there is a hand-drawn "Nude Year" card sent out by Anne and Abel Meeropol in 1971, clearly reflecting their political views.

 

This exhibition is no longer on view.

Alan Cumming
Abel Meeropol and Strange Fruit