This 2010 episode of Radio Diaries was rebroadcast this year after the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and the ensuing protests. The show uses long-lost historical audio to tell the story of the lynching in Marion, Indiana, that inspired poet Abel Meeropol to write the song “Strange Fruit.” The producers juxtapose voices of the witnesses who stood by while a crowd hanged the black teenagers Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith on Aug. 7, 1930, with a 1994 interview with James Cameron, who barely escaped being the third victim. The host, Joe Richman, makes minimal interventions after setting the initial scene, leaving a historian, those eyewitnesses, and Cameron’s steady voice—“I was pleading for some kind of mercy, looking for a kind face”—to speak for themselves.
3. Radio Diaries, “Strange Fruit: Voices of a Lynching” (2010)
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