Strange Fruit

***Trying something new. Was bored on Saturday and I was inspired by this event I went to Friday night. ***

I awakened to the sounds of dogs barking. As I looked around our one room home my father, mother and sister were still asleep. I get up to look out the front window the floorboard creaks and my father wakes up.

“Jeremiah, where are you going? my father asked me.

“I think I heard something outside.” I told him as we walked over to the window. As we looked out we saw a mob of white men with dogs and guns making their way across our farm.

“Mary, Hannah! Wake up!” As my mother and sister scrambled out of bed my father grabbed his shotgun and started to load shells into it. “No matter what happens. Stay in the house.” My mother, sister and I huddled in the corner of the house.

“We have no quarrel with you nigger. Where is your son?” I heard one of the white men ask my father.

“What do you want with my son?”

“That little nigger was eyeing little Michelle Proctor. We’re going to teach him a lesson.”

I tried to remember what these men were talking about. I saw a white girl in town earlier that day when I went to pick up supplies from town but I didn’t look at her. I knew better than that. I couldn’t take it anymore. I walked away from my mother and sister towards the window. “Jeremiah come back here. You heard what your father said.” my mother said in a hushed tone.

“I’m just going to look and see what they’re doing Ma.” As I looked out the window I saw 9 men all armed with guns and 4 basset hounds. They were standing literally a few feet from the bottom of the porch stairs.

“My son is only 12 years old.” my father said trying to reason with the lynch mob.

“You calling me a liar boy?” one of the white men asked my father.

“No sir but I can’t just let you take my son.” my father told them defiantly.

“We’re taking him one way or another. You can let us have him or you can die with him.” said another white man. Two white men stepped up onto the stairs and my father raised his shotgun and pointed it at them.

“I don’t want any trouble. My family and I are just sharecroppers. We don’t bother anybody.”

Before my father could say another word one of the white men still in the front yard raised his pistol and fired it in my fathers direction. My father fell backwards onto the porch. “That will teach that nigger to point a gun at a white man.” Behind me I could hear my mother scream. I ran to the door opened it and ran to my father.

“There’s that little nigger right there!”

I looked down at my father who was laying on his back. I could see a puddle of dark blood seeping out from under him. He had a hole in the middle of his chest. I reached for my father’s gun and as I looked up I saw the butt of a shotgun coming towards my face.  Everything went black.

As I came to I was laying on my back in front of our house. The first thing I noticed was our house was on fire and I could hear the screams of my mother and sister coming from inside the house. I started to get up but I was met with a white man who had a shotgun.

“Where do you think you’re going nigger? We’re gonna teach you some manners and not eyeball white girls”

“I didn’t look at her.” I tried to explain fighting back tears.

“Don’t back talk me boy!” he yelled at me.

I could still hear the screams of my mother and sister. “Please mister don’t let my mother and sister die.”

“You should be more worried about yourself” he told me. Another man grabbed me by my legs and dragged me towards a tree. I saw a rope hanging from the tree with a noose at the end of it. As they stood me up and placed the noose around neck the screams from the house stopped. As the noose tightened around my neck I felt tears running down my face. Why did these men hate me? I didn’t do anything to them. I didn’t look at that girl. My parents and sister were dead. As the men tied the other end of the rope to the saddle of a horse I knew the end was coming soon. They smacked the horse and it ran in the other direction. I was hoisted up and I tried to pull at the noose but it dug so tight into my neck. I tried to swallow air but I couldn’t. My chest was on fire. Quickly everything started going black again. I had become strange fruit on Southern trees. A black body swinging in the Southern breeze, strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.

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21 thoughts on “Strange Fruit

  1. Be On It

    Very intense. What needs to be remembered is that this happened to ppl born around the same time as my mom. They would be middle aged or just a few yrs shy of retirement. How quickly we forget.

    Reply
    1. madscientist7 Post author

      yeah it definitely happened up until the 50s/early 60s. i promise i could not have lived in that era. i don’t think i would have made it to twelve. well then again when thats all you know you adapt.

      Reply
  2. SilentScorpion

    M heat sank deep into my stomach as I read this story. I’m overcome with sadness right know because I know there is lots of truth in this. This is someone’s story.

    Reply
  3. ddough1352

    That’s as real as it gets. Crazy thing is it was a regular occurrence in THIS country. That shit happened here. The worst part is folks forget that those actions reaped rippling effects on the culture of blk people that exist today. Our struggle never died, its alive and kicking.

    Reply
      1. ddough1352

        And that’s what kills me..The offspring of those kids run our country, they’re in our senate, house of reps and absolutely hold judge seats in out supreme courts…its asinine to believe racism is dead and long gone, its perpetuated in our prison system’s, educations systems, death and heath rates….

        That period after slavery was abolished is REAL, we were free on paper but we will forever be enslaved in the real world

  4. Alexius

    Hatred can’t really be explained… And apparently can’t be harnessed. But under no circumstances, should it ever be matched… This post will make many angry because of the vivid detail. My eyes welled up reading it, and I’d like to think I’m not easily moved. But will this change my outlook on a certain race today? No. That’s what they want. I’d rather just excel, something that sharecroppers couldn’t do. I’ll be that strange fruit, just not on a tree…

    Reply
    1. madscientist7 Post author

      you’re right. hatred pulls down the one who express that emotion a lot more than the indicated target. i think that was my goal. to get people to take a hard look at where they could have been and use that as motivation to push forward.

      Reply
  5. divinepearlz

    When I read this, I immediately thught of Billie Holiday’s song, “Strange Fruit.”
    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.

    When I think about this, I wonder how far we have come. While there isn’t necessarily any trees bearing “strange fruit” our people are still being murdered b/c of the color of their skin. It was only this past summer when a group of “white” teenagers drove over a “black” in Mississipi. We still have a long way to go before we have 100% equality.

    Good job though, I enjoyed teh story

    Reply
    1. madscientist7 Post author

      lol i think you’re the first to get it. that’s where the title and the last two lines in the story came from.

      i heard about that case in mississippi. take that along with the james byrd case and its easy to see that black people are still targets of hate crimes.

      Reply
      1. divinepearlz

        :-). That was my grandmother’s era and I do remember having to listen to that song as a child. Funny, I just heard the song mentioned not to long ago but I can’t remember where.

        I agree that we are still targets of hate crimes which, is why is why it bothers me even more that we commit some henious crimes amongst ourselves. It’s a sad day when we are killing ourselves at a higher rate than others.

  6. Ni-Ni

    It’s stories like that, that makes me appreciate rights and freedoms I have now. Things were once worst than what they are now and now we are far from true equality. Which I feel like will never be achieved. But hey that’s just me.. Good Post!

    Reply
  7. African Mami

    So what happened to your dad?!!!!!! I mean, this calls for a part 2, 3, 4, 5…you can’t leave a sister in shell shock mode.

    Reply
  8. A Woman's Eyes

    This is why some of us come from generations of Black men who believed in the right to bear arms. I had great grandfathers who survived such a climate in the South because they knew they would choose the consequence that would still keep them alive–which is you got the hell out of the South if you ever had to defend your family’s life.

    Billie Holiday’s song reminds me of my older relatives’ whispers about whose child was killed down South.

    The same whispers are shining light on Penn State from over several years ago. In 2000, there was a letter written threatening the lives of Black students saying that soon the body of a dead Black man would be found on campus and it was.

    http://loop21.com/content/other-penn-state-cover-death-threats-against-black-students

    Reply

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