Read Strange Fruit by Lillian E. Smith Free Online
Book Title: Strange Fruit|
ISBN 13: 9780156856362
The author of the book: Lillian E. Smith
Edition: Mariner Books
Date of issue: July 15th 1992
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 6.56 MB
City - Country: No data
Loaded: 1964 times
Reader ratings: 3.9
Read full description of the books:
This book made me mad, made me cry, and made me think. It is a much more powerful depiction of race relations in a small, sleepy southern town than "To Kill a Mockingbird". That book was written from a child's point of view. "Strange Fruit" gives us the facts as seen through the eyes of many people in Maxwell, Georgia in the early 1920's. Black and white, man and woman, parent and child; by the last page we know them all, we understand what motivates them, and it makes us sick.
The bare facts are these. The son of the town's white doctor (Tracy) has been carrying on with a beautiful, college educated, very light skinned black woman (Nonnie). She loves him completely, is available whenever he wants, and eventually gets pregnant by him. His parents want him to settle down with the good Christian daughter of a neighbor, get religion, and make something of himself.
The story takes place in an insufferably hot week in August during a tent revival. Reverend Dunwoodie gets his claws into Tracy and sets off a series of events that culminates in tragedy for a great many people. End of synopsis.
Lillian Smith used this story to illustrate the ignorant, wrong thinking ways of white people using God to justify their cruelty and injustice to a race of people they considered below them, not even willing to dignify them with feelings and emotions common to us all. The blacks used good manners to whites, humbling themselves and saying what had to be said to keep the status quo. As one character said, whites are as much prisoners of the whole system of Jim Crow as the Negroes, and if they spent the same amount of time and energy getting along as in keeping them in their place, just think what a great place the South could be.
The dialect was perfect, the plot was engrossing and suspenseful, the characters were real people with real problems, and we knew what made them tick. It's not an easy book to read, but it needs to be read. One reviewer suggested it be taught in schools instead of "To Kill a Mockingbird." That could not happen today because of the frequent use of the N word, and the way the author shows the utter hypocrisy of the church and "good Christian people". Ironically, it was a brave book to write and to publish in 1944, and was in fact banned in some places, enabling it to become a best seller. I recommend it to anyone who cares to challenge ways of thinking. It's going on my "best books of 2016 list."
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Read information about the authorLillian Smith was a writer and social critic of the Southern United States, known best for her best-selling novel Strange Fruit (1944). A white woman who openly embraced controversial positions on matters of race and gender equality, she was a southern liberal unafraid to criticize segregation and work toward the dismantling of Jim Crow laws, at a time when such actions almost guaranteed social ostracism.
Lillian Eugenia Smith was born on December 12, 1897 in the America before women's suffrage to a prominent family in Jasper, Florida, the eighth of ten children. Her life as the daughter of a middle class civic and business leader took an abrupt turn in 1915 when her father lost his turpentine mills. The family was not without resources however, and decided to relocate to their summer residence in the mountains of Clayton, Georgia, where her father had previously purchased property and operated the Laurel Falls Camp for Girls.
Now a young adult financially on her own, she was free to pursue her love of music and teaching for the next five years. She spent a year studying at Piedmont College in Demorest (1915–1916). She also had two stints at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore in 1917 and 1919. She returned home and helped her parents manage a hotel and taught in two mountain schools before accepting a position to be director of music at a Methodist school for girls in Huzhou, (now Wuxing, Zhejiang), China. While she was not a churchgoer and did not consider herself religious, it follows that her youthful Christian principals were challenged by the oppression and injustice she would witness there, and that this laid the foundation of her later awareness as a social critic.
Her time in China was limited however by problems back home. Her father's health was declining and she was forced to return home to the States in 1925. Back in Georgia, she assumed the role of heading the Laurel Falls Camp, a position she would hold for the next twenty three years (1925–1948). Laurel Falls Camp soon became very popular as innovative educational institution known for its instruction in the arts, music, drama, and modern psychology. Her father died in 1930, and she was left with responsibility for the family business and the care of her ill mother. It was this period of creative control over the camp, her ability to use it as a place to discuss modern social issues, combined with the pressures of caring for her ailing parents that made her turn to writing as an emotional escape.
Lillian Smith soon formed a lifelong relationship with one of the camp's school counselors, Paula Snelling, of Pinehurst, Georgia, and the two began publishing a small, quarterly literary magazine, Pseudopodia, in 1936. The magazine encouraged writers, black or white, to offer honest assessments of modern southern life, to challenge for social and economic reform, and it criticized those who ignored the Old South's poverty and injustices. It quickly gained regional fame as a forum for liberal thought, undergoing two name changes to reflect its expanding scope. In 1937 it became the North Georgia Review, and in 1942 finally settling with South Today.
In 1949, she kept up her personal assault on racism with Killers of the Dream, a collection of essays that attempted to identify, challenge and dismantle the Old South's racist traditions, customs and beliefs, warning that segregation corrupted the soul. She also emphasized the negative implications on the minds of women and children. Written in a confessional and autobiographical style that was highly critical of southern moderates, it met with something of a cruel silence from book critics and the literary community.
In 1955, the civil rights movement grabbed the entire nation's attention with the Montgomery bus boycott. By this time she had been meeting or corresponding with many southern blacks and liberal whites for years and was well aware of blacks concerns. In response to Brown v. Board of Ed
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