SUMMIT, NJ - Many powerful songs came out of the Civil Rights movement, one of the most unforgettable of which is “Strange Fruit.” A documentary of the same name, will be the centerpiece of a free public screening January 16, beginning at 4 p.m., at Congregation Beth Hatikvah (CBH) in Summit.

The film tells the moving story behind the song, and the film’s director, Joel Katz, will be on hand to answer questions.

The music and lyrics for “Strange Fruit” were written by a Jewish schoolteacher from the Bronx after he saw a photograph of the lynching of a southern Black man. Katz’s documentary, which has won several awards including the Grand Prize from the U.S.A. Film Festival, traces the interlocking history of the song, lynching in America, and the forces that joined together to forge the Civil Rights Movement. 

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Following the screening and Q&A session, participants will share an informal pizza supper, and those who wish to will continue on to the Martin Luther King Day service at Fountain Baptist Church in Summit.

For more information, call 908-277-0200 or visit bethhatikvah.org. Congregation Beth Hatikvah is located 36 Chatham Road.