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{{Display censorship incident
 
{{Display censorship incident
 
|ongoing=no
 
|ongoing=no
|year=2016
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|year=1939
 
|region=North America
 
|region=North America
|artist=Aaron Bell / Artwork: Stand Tall, Stand Loud
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|artist=Billie Holiday; Censored song: "Strange Fruit"
|subject=Political/Economic/Social Opinion, Public Art
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|subject=Political/Economic/Social Opinion
|confronting_bodies=New York City Department of Parks & Recreation
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|confronting_bodies=U.S. Radio and performance spaces
|medium=Sculpture, Public Art
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|medium=Music
|date_of_action=June 2016
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|date_of_action=1939
|location=New York City
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|description_of_content="Strange Fruit" is a song performed most famously by Billie Holiday, who first sang and recorded it in 1939. It first appeared as apoem in 1937 under the title “Bitter Fruit” in the union publication The New York Teacher, having been written by a New York City public school teacher, Abel Meeropol. Set in the rustic loveliness of the “gallant South”, the poem provided a description of a “black body swinging in the southern breeze” with “the bulging eyes and the twisted mouth”; the scent of magnolia is supplanted by the stench of burning flesh.  Meeropol set the poem to music. It protests American racism, particularly the lynching of African Americans. “Strange Fruit” has been called the original protest song.  
|description_of_content=Aaron Bell's ''Stand Tall, Stand Loud'', is a sixteen-foot tall Cor-ten steel sculpture located in Riverside Park, New York City. The sculpture is composed of a stylized figure and a noose with a slash through it in place of a head. Bell's proposed design was selected by the Art Students League for Model to Monument (M2M), a public art program administered in partnership with the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. Bell, who is African American, conceived the sculpture as a statement against hate and bigotry. The sculpture's base is inscribed with a quote from Martin Luther King, Jr.: "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter."
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|description_of_incident=A public art coordinator for city parks, Jennifer Lantzas, contacted Parks staff with concerns that "the image of the noose could be problematic for the borough" (Ginia Bellafante, NYTimes May 27, 2016). Parks spokesman Sam Biederman said that Bell's project was rejected because the site, near West 68th Street in Riverside Park, "is adjacent to an area regularly programmed with passive recreational activities such as yoga, Pilates and senior movement." Bell was told to remove the noose element or forfeit the opportunity to install the sculpture; the M2M committee did not honor his repeated requests to explain or defend his concept. The sculpture was initially installed on schedule but with an alternative head element.
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In early 1939, Billie Holiday was performing in the newly-opened nightclub Café Society in lower Manhattan. Meeropol asked Barney Josephson, the owner of the club, if Holiday would sing it. She sang it to a stunned audience that broke into applause.
|description_of_result=The NYC Parks Department reversed its decision to censor the sculpture after protests by NCAC and the involvement of attorney Norman Siegel on behalf of the artist. The noose element was fabricated in Cor-ten steel. It was installed on July 20, 2016.
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|image=Aaron Bell sculpture final2.jpg
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Holiday asked her label, Columbia, to record it but they declined, fearing a backlash. She went to Commodore Records; accompanied by her eight-piece Café Society band, they recorded it in a single afternoon. “Strange Fruit” would become her biggest hit and signature track.
|source=http://untappedcities.com/2016/06/20/art-students-league-m2m-program-arrives-in-riverside-park-nyc/
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|description_of_incident=The song was blacklisted. Performance of the song was banned in some US cities for fear of provoking civil unrest. It was blocked From U.S. Radio stations.
 +
|description_of_result=The Library of Congress began adding important American recordings to the National Recording Registry in 2002 to ensure they would not be lost or forgotten. Billie Holiday’s recording of ‘Strange Fruit’ was one of 50 recordings added to the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry in its first year.
 +
|image=BillyHoliday.jpg
 
}}
 
}}
[http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/29/nyregion/a-problematic-sculpture-is-silenced-by-new-york-parks-officials.html A ‘Problematic’ Sculpture Is Silenced by New York Parks Officials by Ginia Bellafante MAY 27 2016]
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[https://ig.ft.com/life-of-a-song/strange-fruit.html Billie Holiday’s Strange Fruit — ‘the first unmuted cry against racism’], Financial Times, NOVEMBER 14, 2017
  
[http://gothamist.com/2016/06/17/noose_sculpture_green_lit.php Artist Will Finish 'Problematic' Noose Sculpture In Riverside Park by Emma Whitford JUN 17 2016]
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[https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2002/02/frut-f08.html "Strange Fruit": the story of a song], World Socialist Web Site, Feb 2002
  
[http://untappedcities.com/2016/06/20/art-students-league-m2m-program-arrives-in-riverside-park-nyc/ Art Students League M2M Program Arrives in Riverside Park NYC, 06/20/2016, by AFineLyne]
 
  
[http://ncac.org/blog/stand-tall-stand-loud-censored-by-nyc-department-of-parks NCAC Letter to Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP, Commissioner, New York City Department of Parks & Recreation]
 
  
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<p>Censorpedia is a crowdsourced online database of censorship cases within the arts and in culture. It is aimed at those researching censorship, at activists working for freedom of expression and at artists and other cultural producers whose expression has been subject to censorship or attempted censorship.</p>
 
<p>Censorpedia is a crowdsourced online database of censorship cases within the arts and in culture. It is aimed at those researching censorship, at activists working for freedom of expression and at artists and other cultural producers whose expression has been subject to censorship or attempted censorship.</p>
<p>Censorpedia aids the fight for free expression by providing a repository of incidents involving information about what is vulnerable to censorship, and about the strategies and tactics that have defeated previous’ censorship attempts. Essentially, its articles document censorship outbreaks by providing the who, what, when, where and why.</p>
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<p>Censorpedia documents censorship incidents by providing the who, what, when, where and why. By providing a repository of information about what is vulnerable to censorship and about the strategies and tactics that have defeated previous’ censorship attempts, Censorpedia aids the fight for free expression.</p>
<p>Researchers can search for a specific case, year or keyword using the search box, as well as browse by [[:Category:Medium|'''medium''']], by [[:Category:Subject|'''subject''']], or explore a [[Special:Randompage|'''random case''']].</p>
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<p>Researchers can search for a specific case, year or keyword using the search box, as well as browse by [[:Category:Medium|'''medium''']], by [[:Category:Subject|'''grounds for censorship''']], or explore a [[Special:Randompage|'''random case''']].</p>
 
<p>Activists can search for [[:Category:Ongoing_Case|'''ongoing cases''']] or [[Form:Censorship_incident|'''contribute a case''']] that is ongoing or recently resolved.</p>
 
<p>Activists can search for [[:Category:Ongoing_Case|'''ongoing cases''']] or [[Form:Censorship_incident|'''contribute a case''']] that is ongoing or recently resolved.</p>
 
<p>Artists and cultural producers are similarly invited to [[Form:Censorship_incident|'''add cases''']] they are directly involved with or are familiar with first hand.</p>
 
<p>Artists and cultural producers are similarly invited to [[Form:Censorship_incident|'''add cases''']] they are directly involved with or are familiar with first hand.</p>
  
<p>Censorpedia builds on the landmark 1994 art project The File Room, initiated by Muntadas.</p>
+
<p>Censorpedia builds on the landmark 1994 art project [http://anthology.rhizome.org/the-file-room '''The File Room'''], initiated by Muntadas.</p>
 +
<p>For more information about censorship visit our [http://ncac.org/partly-annotated-bibliography-books-and-articles-on-censorship '''Annotated Bibliography''']</p>
 
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<p>'''Feel free to:'''</p>
 
<p>'''Feel free to:'''</p>
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*[[Special:Randompage|'''random case''']]</p>
 
*[[Special:Randompage|'''random case''']]</p>
 
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<p> [[Censorpedia:Terms_of_Service|Censorpedia Terms of Use]]</p>
  
  
 
{{DISPLAYTITLE:Censorpedia: An Interactive Database of Censorship Incidents}}
 
{{DISPLAYTITLE:Censorpedia: An Interactive Database of Censorship Incidents}}

Latest revision as of 08:46, 2 October 2018

Featured Case



BillyHoliday.jpg

Artist: Billie Holiday; Censored song: "Strange Fruit"

Year: 1939

Date of Action: 1939

Region: North America


Subject: Political/Economic/Social Opinion

Medium: Music

Confronting Bodies: U.S. Radio and performance spaces

Description of Artwork: "Strange Fruit" is a song performed most famously by Billie Holiday, who first sang and recorded it in 1939. It first appeared as apoem in 1937 under the title “Bitter Fruit” in the union publication The New York Teacher, having been written by a New York City public school teacher, Abel Meeropol. Set in the rustic loveliness of the “gallant South”, the poem provided a description of a “black body swinging in the southern breeze” with “the bulging eyes and the twisted mouth”; the scent of magnolia is supplanted by the stench of burning flesh. Meeropol set the poem to music. It protests American racism, particularly the lynching of African Americans. “Strange Fruit” has been called the original protest song.

In early 1939, Billie Holiday was performing in the newly-opened nightclub Café Society in lower Manhattan. Meeropol asked Barney Josephson, the owner of the club, if Holiday would sing it. She sang it to a stunned audience that broke into applause.

Holiday asked her label, Columbia, to record it but they declined, fearing a backlash. She went to Commodore Records; accompanied by her eight-piece Café Society band, they recorded it in a single afternoon. “Strange Fruit” would become her biggest hit and signature track.

The Incident: The song was blacklisted. Performance of the song was banned in some US cities for fear of provoking civil unrest. It was blocked From U.S. Radio stations.

Results of Incident: The Library of Congress began adding important American recordings to the National Recording Registry in 2002 to ensure they would not be lost or forgotten. Billie Holiday’s recording of ‘Strange Fruit’ was one of 50 recordings added to the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry in its first year.

Source:


Billie Holiday’s Strange Fruit — ‘the first unmuted cry against racism’, Financial Times, NOVEMBER 14, 2017

"Strange Fruit": the story of a song, World Socialist Web Site, Feb 2002


















What is Censorpedia?

Censorpedia is a crowdsourced online database of censorship cases within the arts and in culture. It is aimed at those researching censorship, at activists working for freedom of expression and at artists and other cultural producers whose expression has been subject to censorship or attempted censorship.

Censorpedia documents censorship incidents by providing the who, what, when, where and why. By providing a repository of information about what is vulnerable to censorship and about the strategies and tactics that have defeated previous’ censorship attempts, Censorpedia aids the fight for free expression.

Researchers can search for a specific case, year or keyword using the search box, as well as browse by medium, by grounds for censorship, or explore a random case.

Activists can search for ongoing cases or contribute a case that is ongoing or recently resolved.

Artists and cultural producers are similarly invited to add cases they are directly involved with or are familiar with first hand.

Censorpedia builds on the landmark 1994 art project The File Room, initiated by Muntadas.

For more information about censorship visit our Annotated Bibliography


Feel free to:

Browse censorship cases by:


Censorpedia Terms of Use