Billie Holiday statue rededicated in Baltimore

July 17, 2009 12:04:53 PM PDT
A Baltimore statue of Billie Holiday now bears images evoking the anti-racism message of a song recorded by the jazz icon in the 1930s, just as the sculptor intended.

Two panels at the statue's base - one of a lynched man and another of a newborn baby - were part of the design, but weren't included when the piece was erected in 1985 in a West Baltimore neighborhood.

At a rededication ceremony Friday on the 50th anniversary of Holiday's death, Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon said people should view the statue and the panels as a depiction of "raw" history.

Holiday, who lived in Baltimore as a child, recorded "Strange Fruit," a jazz ballad condemning lynchings of blacks. It was considered one of the first anti-racism songs in American popular music.

Follow Action News on Twitter

Get Action News on your website

Follow Action News on Facebook

Click here to get the latest Philadelphia news and headlines from across the Delaware and Lehigh valleys.