Strange Fruit: Stand Your Ground

(picture is clickable for detail)

This piece is my response to the Trayvon Martin trial.  Because of course, it was Trayvon who was on trial, not George Zimmerman.

I can't actually say much about the results of the verdict - even now, as I type this - my eyes are filling with tears. It hurts too much, it feels too big, I cannot yet articulate my fear for my sons, who are young Black men, or my hurt at the response to the verdict. 

But if you are familiar with the song "Strange Fruit", a strangely beautiful song about lynching in the American South; you will understand why I associate the Stand Your Ground laws in Florida and elsewhere, with the song - as those laws have borne much strange fruit. 

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.

I do not have words right now, I only have stitch, and fabric, and a broken, bleeding heart.  So I will leave you with the words of  Richard Wright.

"I would hurl words into this darkness and wait for an echo.
And if an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, 
I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight..."
I am hopeful that my stitches tell, and march, and fight.
Kit 120

Kit Lang


  1. Well sewn and well said.

  2. A stunning piece which captures the way you must be feeling perfectly. The trial was such a travesty. I didn't know the song but thank you for the lyrics, such powerful and moving images.

  3. Nice job, Kit! This situation is far too complicated for many of us to process. I've consulted legal scholars and counselors to put it all into perspective. But it doesn't help the emotional toll it all takes, especially with the nullification of a huge part of the Voting Rights Act. We essentially simultaneously lost the ability to elect leaders who are likely to change these laws.

    1. Unfortunately, where the US goes, there goes Canada.

      As the mother of two beautiful young black men, I an terrified for their future, Chawne. As it is,
      every time they visit the US, I am afraid of what might happen. Their being killed while on vacation during spring break in Florida does not seem outside the realm of possibility.

      And I think of all of us ( we Black folk) and how it just never ends, despite platitudes, and laws, and white folks who "don't see colour" and living in "post-racial" America. And I want to ask "why" and then I shake my head at my own self. When you can't control it, Why ask why?

      Find a bolt hole and try to keep your loved ones safe: while you tell, and march and fight.

  4. Kit, Your work is so POWERFUL and as for Precious Trayvon, he is R.I. Paradise. That is the only understanding or comfort I as mother can get out of this, Blessings

  5. It is such a sad world for sure...interestingly enough, I just finished reading the book, Black Like Me by John Griffin. What a great read for non-blacks....I am white but I have always felt respect for others until you give me reason not to. I have had two VERY close friends who were black (they are both deceased now). The Travon/Zimmerman incident was a tragedy for everyone...I honestly don't think it happened because someone wanted to 'kill' happened...and could happen again. I hope your children will continue to be safe, I hope all mothers, black or white...let's hope our children will live long, long lives and be taken when God feels they've done enough good in this world!!

  6. Kit this is so incredibly powerful! I too have tears in my eyes as I realize that no matter how hard I try, as a white woman I will never truly be able to understand the reality of the horrible discrimination that continues in our world. I think I am beginning to grasp it and then I hear another story from a friend like you, about the personal experience you've had, and I get that it is still so much deeper and more heinous than what I imagine.

  7. I do remember that Billy Holiday song. Very controversial when she sang it - good, we need some controversy - some contra

  8. Anonymous27.8.13

    thanks for commenting over on my blog on a piece also trying to express something in fiber about this awful episode. I didn't expect yours to look the way it does. I don't know, quite, what the significance of my surprise is, if any. It is a powerful piece and explicit in its emotion of rage and outrage and sadness... I find especially the black thread tacking stitches appropriately ghoulish.

  9. I have found your blog via deemallon. As an Australian Mum, of a son in his 20's (white), I hope that your sons stay safe in this crazy mixed up world. This post with the image of your work and the words of the song have moved me to tears, and that you suffer such fear on behalf of your sons is utterly horrible. Maybe Mothers should be in charge of this world! Wishing you peaceful times ahead.


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