Abel Meeropol Social Justice Writing Award Video

Patricia Smith

Abel Meeropol Social Justice Writing Award 2017

Patricia Smith was awarded the first Abel Meeropol Social Justice Writing Award on Nov. 12, 2017, in a ceremony at Gateway City Arts. A video of her acceptance speech along with opening remarks from Ellen Meeropol and Robert Meeropol and musical performances by Pamela Means was created with photos by Doug Anderson.

The Abel Meeropol Social Justice Writing Award is named for the songwriter behind the anti-lynching classic Strange Fruit. The award is funded by royalties from the song and awarded by Straw Dog Writers Guild.

Talking with Robert Meeropol about Abel Meeropol and his Legacy

80 years ago, an English teacher in New York named Abel Meeropol wrote the anti-lynching song Strange Fruit later immortalized by Billie Holiday. Meeropol was also known for writing the patriotic Frank Sinatra classic The House I Live In and later for adopting the orphaned sons of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg after the couple was executed in the 1950s. And while Abel Meeropol passed away 30 years ago, his most famous work lives on as a powerful response to racism in America.

Here, David Michael Newstead interviews Robert Meeropol to discuss his adoptive father’s legacy, the contrasting truths of American history, and if we’ve really made progress since Strange Fruit was first written.

A BIG thank you to David M. Newstead, Pamela Smith, Pamela Means, Doug Anderson, and Gateway City Arts!