Protest Songs: A look at ‘Strange Fruit’ and ‘Brother, can you spare a dime?’

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(659 Words)

The 1920s and 30s in America was a time of racial discrimination for the black people while economically it was a time of the Great Depression. Times were not only hard but also scary with hatred and desperation flowing across the cities and plains of America. Like prisoners in shackles, the unfortunate ones at the bottom rung of life did not have a voice and ways of expressing how they felt inarticulate terms.  This is why protest songs grew in prominence as they had a purpose, sentiment, and specific issues while invoking the reader to be shocked and angry. This is notwithstanding that these songs were meant to inspire the reader to acknowledge and change the situation. For this essay I have chosen two protest songs that epitomize the era of discrimination and depression; ‘Strange Fruit’ and ‘Brother, can you spare a dime?’ I will highlight their literary merits and social criticism.

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