Skip to Content
HomeAbout this siteHelpSearch this site The Library of Congress
America's Story from America's LibraryMeet Amazing AmericansJump Back in TimeExplore the StatesJoin America at PlaySee, Hear and Sing
Jump Back in Time Great War & Jazz Age (1914-1928)
A terrible blot on American civilization. 3424 lynchings in 33 years ...
Holiday sang her heart out about the inhumanity she experienced as an African American

Enlarge this image
Billie Holiday Was Born
April 7, 1915

Born Eleanora Fagan, she gave herself the stage name Billie after Billie Dove, an early movie star. While becoming a star, Holiday faced racism. Some laws created separate facilities, public spaces, and seats on buses for blacks, and some restaurants would serve only white people. As a result, Holiday sometimes found herself singing in clubs that refused service to blacks. Her 1939 version of "Strange Fruit," a song about lynching, was described as the most haunting and sad "expression of protest against man's inhumanity to man that has ever been made in the form of vocal jazz."
Back page 2 of 3 Next

Library Of Congress | Legal Notices | Privacy | Site Map | Contact Us