This article on the NPR site tells the story of Abel Meeropol the Jewish man who wrote the poem ‘Strange Fruit’ about black people being lynched on which Billie Holiday’s classic haunting song is based.
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.
There is also a short documentary on the subject
Its a touching story of compassion and empathy. An intriguing part of the tale is that, along with his wife, he raised the two boys of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg the couple executed in 1953 for espionage. A remarkable and brave poem from a Jewish man about racism in the 1950s and an equally brave decision for Miss Holiday to sing it.