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Southern trees bear 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,
en the sudden smell of burning flesh.

Here is the 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 bier crop.

– Abraham Meeropol’s Strange Fruit, a poem-turned-song inspired by a lynching in Marion, Indiana, whose lyrics of state-sanctioned murder of black men resonate as much now as it did when it was written nine decades ago. Dropout Nation prays for — and stands in sympathy with — the family of Eric Garner, whose murder at the hands of a New York City police officer was not given justice by a grand jury today. And reminds all reformers that they have no right to be silent about either the crises of injustice that affect the communities of the children we serve — or how American public education helps perpetuate them through practices such as the restraint of children condemned to special ed ghettos.

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