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Examples Of Racial Injustice In Lillian Smith's Strange Fruit

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Examples Of Racial Injustice In Lillian Smith's Strange Fruit
Lillian Smith’s Strange Fruit caused extreme controversy when it published. This was due to its language, its plot about a mixed race couple, and its outrageously precise portrayal of racial injustice in the 1920s south. During this time, white people had the upper hand and were not obligated to consider their intentions toward black people. However, Smith's depictions transcend further than racial injustice. In addressing white people's behavior toward black people, Strange Fruit illustrates the malicious and ruthless behavior white people had toward black people, and how white people justified this cruelty in their own minds. In this novel, the prime example of racial cruelty is the mob’s attitude toward Big Henry.
When Big Henry finds Tracy dead, he feels grief and shock for his friend. However, every feeling melted away, and he could only focused on one dismal reality. “He began to feel a thousand cold eyes on him, a thousand fingers pointing, a thousand bloodhounds baying down centuries, smelling him out, him, Big Henry, from the other millions of black men … and they’d git him sho” (Smith 240). Big Henry knew that he would be
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In a conversation with Gabe, Sam Perry, a black and life-long friend of the Anderson’s, asks, “What do they care about innocence, that mob? White man dead. Nigger must die” (Smith 336). This logic is reinforced shortly thereafter by Tom Harris, a white and prominent businessman. Sam recounts Big Henry’s alibi, attempting to prove Henry’s innocence; however, Tom merely replies, “That’s a good story you told, gives Henry a clean slate all right. Only trouble is, it’s a lie” (Smith 338). Even though Tom is one of Sam’s best friends, he is still in the mindset of a white person. Tom cannot fully relate to his friend, because they live in two very different worlds, and Tom refuses to truly see the people responsible for the

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