Blood on the leaves blood at the roots
WILMINGTON, UNITED STATES

BLOOD ON THE LEAVES, BLOOD AT THE ROOT

Blood on the Leaves, Blood at the Root by Artist Gerald Thomas was created as the subject of oppression and unfairness crept into his work. The lyrics to Billie Holiday’s song “Strange Fruit” remain a ghastly reminder of violence and systemic oppression. Published by in 1937 by Abel Meeropol and recorded by Billie Holiday in 1939, the song protests the lynching of Black Americans, with lyrics that compare the victims to the fruit of trees. Here, the artist references the “Red Summer” of 1919, during which African American veterans were assaulted and black communities were destroyed.  The resulting painting, with its forty-eight stars on the lacework at the top, represents the nation during one of the bloodiest years of racial conflict.  The location and names of the victims are inscribed on red ribbon.  While reading the scripts you may see red seeping into the roots of the weeds: weeds that perpetually sprout through concrete, and see red blemishing the pine seeds.  You may also experience an uncomfortable feeling in your neck the longer you read the scripts. In addition, you will realize that your face is too close to the sidewalk. 

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BLOOD ON THE LEAVES, BLOOD AT THE ROOT
  1. Strange Fruit