Strange Fruit: Graphic Novel Explores Lesser-Known Black History


These panels depict a former student at Noyes Academy, an integrated school in Canaan, N.H., getting an education despite racism in the 1800s. (Courtesy of Joel Christian Gill, author and illustrator of “Strange Fruit: Uncelebrated Narratives from Black History”)

Many music scholars have written about the powerful imagery in Billie Holiday’s 1939 recording of “Strange Fruit,” depicting a lynching. A new graphic anthology evokes that image to tell stories of black Americans in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

It includes nine little known stories — from the first black U.S. Marshal to an island enclave of free blacks off the coast of Maine.

Joel Christian Gill will be discussing “Strange Fruit: Uncelebrated Narratives from Black History Wednesday night at the Harvard Book Store.


Joel Christian Gill, associate dean of student affairs at the New Hampshire Institute of Art. His new graphic anthology is called “Strange Fruit: Uncelebrated Narratives from Black History.”

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