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30 Days a Black Man
The Forgotten Story That Exposed the Jim Crow South
Bill Steigerwald -
In 1948 most white people in the North had no idea how unjust and unequal daily life was for the 10 million African Americans living in the South. But that suddenly changed after Ray Sprigle, a famous white journalist from Pittsburgh, went undercover and lived as a black man in the Jim Crow South.
Escorted through the South’s parallel black society by John Wesley Dobbs, a historic black civil rights pioneer from Atlanta, Sprigle met with sharecroppers, local black leaders, and families of lynching victims. He visited ramshackle black schools and slept at the homes of prosperous black farmers and doctors.
reporter’s series was syndicated coast to coast in white newspapers and carried into the South only by the
the country’s leading black paper.
His vivid descriptions and undisguised outrage at "the iniquitous Jim Crow system" shocked the North, enraged the South, and ignited the first national debate in the media about ending America’s system of apartheid.
Six years before
Brown v. Board of Education
, seven years before the murder of Emmett Till, and thirteen years before John Howard Griffin’s similar experiment became the bestseller
Black Like Me
, Sprigle’s intrepid journalism
blasted into the American consciousness the grim reality of black lives in the South.
Author Bill Steigerwald elevates Sprigle’s groundbreaking exposé to its rightful place among the seminal events of the early Civil Rights movement.
Globe Pequot Press / Lyons Press
Size: 6 x 9
978-1-4930-2618-0 • Hardback • April 2017 •
978-1-4930-2619-7 • eBook • April 2017 •
History / United States / 20th Century
History / General
History / African American
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Bill Steigerwald’s thirty-six-year career as a journalist included stints with the
Los Angeles Times
, and the
. At the
he was an associate editor, feature writer, book page editor/writer, editorial writer, weekly op-ed columnist and weekly interviewer of important newsmakers. His work has appeared in dozens of major American papers and in magazines as disparate as
. He lives just outside of Pittsburgh.
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