The Jazz Theologian

The Jazz Theologian

Strange Fruit by Nina Simone

Strange Fruit is a tough song to listen to.  In clear and measured words it captures what was happening in our country most powerfully.  Lynching was a form of terrorism that went unpunished in this country for too long.  Of all of the versions that I’ve heard, Nina Simone’s is the best.  Just a warning, this is not easy to watch…

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Craig L. Adams

posted May 1, 2008 at 4:46 pm

Very disturbing. Very well sung. Thanks for posting this.

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posted May 3, 2008 at 11:24 am

What’s most striking, secondary to the obvious stark horror of the bodies, are the numbers of observers. These pictures are surely a minute representation of how many lynchings really happened – and look at the hundreds of people witnessing. How many thousands of people were lynched? And, proportionally, how many more tens or hundreds of thousands of people looked on at either one lynching or several? These people seem blinded to reality. Or, if not blinded, completely powerless considering the ratio of victims to observers. I wish I could suspend time and have a conversation with any one of these observers. I would ask why they were there, what did they do before or afterward (ie, was this some sort of spectacle or party like gathering or perceived mob justice?), did they ever throw up over it or was it just a blip in their history, did they ever have nightmares or trouble getting those pictures out of their minds…? Was their regret or horror in their memories, or just neutrality? And it’s easy, now, to look back and wonder at the horror of the apparently easy acceptance of the observers, but their acceptance of the brutality must have come with an erosion of seeing the “other” as non human – like during the Nazi camps. So, what is happening now in these times that I’m not seeing? I can’t do anything about the Nazi camps or the Southern lynchings. But, is there an equivalent event happening today in my space on the timeline where my face would be a casual observer of a horrific event in a photograph to be studied someday? Is there something I’m currently blinded to that needs justice? Or, are there SO Many terrible injustices being perpetrated that need attention that it’s just more convenient and far more comfortable to remain blind?

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posted May 5, 2008 at 10:16 am

Pastor Robert,
I attend CCC, am in the choir, and I have a blog, I’d love for you to include it on your links page. The link is:

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posted May 5, 2008 at 1:07 pm

There is a book that was published in the 1960’s in which the editor simply compiles actual newspaper articles about specific lynchings. It’s worth the read because you can see the specific crimes that were alleged, the justification for bypassing due process and how so many (except for a few brave souls) stood by and did nothing. The book is called 100 Years of Lynching Here’s the Amazon link–
Thanks for your service and leadership in leading our congregation in worship. I’ve added your link…glad your in the blog world.

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posted May 5, 2008 at 7:12 pm

Hey Ann,
I checked out your blog and wanted to leave a comment, but I think your comment section is down. Or it could be my lack of talent with computers…

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posted May 6, 2008 at 9:14 am

Pastor Robert,
As far as blogs go, I would’ve liked to go with another server… it’s a challenge to find one you can still access on a school computer. :) It’s kind of confusing to leave a comment. When you go to the site (, look at the first blog, “The Valley”. To leave a comment for that one, you just click where it says 0 comments and then the comment window will open. If you get a chance, maybe you can check it out again and make sure it’s working! God Bless!

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posted May 15, 2008 at 9:09 am

I just began listening to Nina Simon on my Rhapsody account. I didn’t know she was the one who sang “sinnerman” on the Thomas Crown Affair. . . just about the best music paired with a movie ever as far as I am concerned. I love her and didn’t even realize it before!

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