1944: Strange Fruit
Author: Lillian Eugenia Smith
A tale of an interracial love affair set in the rural South, Strange Fruit touches on several controversial topics, including race relations, abortion, sexuality, and religious fundamentalism. For these reasons, the book was banned in the city of Boston and the U.S. Post Office banned it from being shipped across state lines for a short time. Principally, this work challenged the status quo in numerous ways and it was popular enough to have been rewritten as a stage play.
Lillian Smith was one of the first white Southerners to speak out against racial prejudice and was actively protesting against segregation a full decade before the U.S. government acted on the issue with Brown v. Board of Education.