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Billie Holiday “Strange Fruit”

The man behind “Strange Fruit” is  Abel Meeropol, a poet and a social activist. In the 1930s Meerpol “was very disturbed at the continuation of racism in America, and seeing a photograph of a lynching sort of put him over the edge.” When Holiday decided to sing “Strange Fruit,” the song reached millions of people.

 

Southern trees bear a strange fruit,
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,
Black bodies 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 magnolias, sweet and fresh,
Then the sudden smell of burning flesh.

Here is fruit for the crows to pluck,
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck,
For the sun to rot, for the trees to drop,
Here is a strange and bitter crop.

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Walter Cronkite Announces the Death of JFK

“Crowds of excited people lined the streets and waved to the Kennedys. The car turned off Main Street at Dealey Plaza around 12:30 p.m. As it was passing the Texas School Book Depository, gunfire suddenly reverberated in the plaza.”

“Bullets struck the president’s neck and head and he slumped over toward Mrs. Kennedy. The governor was also hit in the chest. The car sped off to Parkland Memorial Hospital just a few minutes away. But little could be done for the President. A Catholic priest was summoned to administer the last rites, and at 1:00 p.m. John F. Kennedy was pronounced dead. Though seriously wounded, Governor Connally would recover.”

At 1:00 pm Walter Cronkite of CBS news officially announced Kennedy’s death. Below you can see the news report and experience how many Americans learned of Kennedy’s assassination.

“November 22, 1963: Death of the President.” John F. Kennedy Library and Museum. Accessed February 10, 2015. http://www.jfklibrary.org/JFK/JFK-in-History/November-22-1963-Death-of-the-President.aspx?p=2.

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CBS 60 Minutes: “An American Soldier Revisited Mogadishu, Somalia 20 Years Later”

President Clinton presided over the longest peace time in American history. While the United States was not directly involved in armed conflict in foreign nations, we did engage in humanitarian and peace keeping missions throughout the world. In fact, Clinton would send more troops overseas than any other president during a time of peace.

In 1993 a U.S. Army force in Mogadishu, consisting primarily of U.S. Army Rangers, known as “Delta Force”  were attempting to seize warlords that were infringing on U.N. efforts to deliver humanitarian aid to the people of Somalia; the warlords had also declared war on U.N. peacekeepers. Shortly after the assault began, Somali militia and armed civilian fighters shot down two UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters. The subsequent operation to recover the crews of both helicopters drew the raid, intended to last no more than an hour, into an overnight standoff in the city. The battle resulted in 18 deaths, 73 wounded, and one helicopter pilot captured among the U.S. raid party and rescue forces. Gary Gordon of Lincoln, Maine was one of the casualties. The incident is more commonly referred to as “Black Hawk Down.”