“Bill Steigerwald’s recounting of Sprigle’s mission … reminds us of what an honest conversation about race can accomplish as we continue on the path toward a more equitable future.”
JUAN WILLIAMS, AUTHOR OF EYES ON THE PRIZE: AMERICA’S CIVIL RIGHTS YEARS, 1954-1965
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. 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.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reporter’s series was syndicated coast to coast in white newspapers and carried into the South only by the Pittsburgh Courier, 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. Pittsburgh journalist Bill Steigerwald elevates Sprigle’s groundbreaking exposé to its rightful place among the seminal events of the early Civil Rights movement.
The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
A book signing will follow the lecture. A selection of backlist titles and the author’s current book will be available for sale from Classic Lines.