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Singer's statue is rededicated

July 18, 2009|Associated Press

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 the lynchings of blacks. It was considered one of the first anti-racism songs in American popular music.

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