30 Days a Black man: the Forgotten Story That Exposed the Jim Crow South

Author or Artist

Bill Steigerwald
30 Days a Black Man

Summary

The dangerous, trailblazing work of a white journalist and black leader who struck a shocking early blow against legal segregation.

In 1948, most white people in the North had no idea how unjust and unequal daily life was for 10 million African Americans living in the Jim Crow South. Then, Ray Sprigle, a famous white journalist from Pittsburgh, went undercover and alongside Atlanta s black civil rights pioneer John Wesley Dobbs lived as a black man in the South for thirty days. His impassioned newspaper series shocked millions and sparked the first nationally aired television-and-radio debate about ending America's shameful system of apartheid. Author Bill Steigerwald returns this long-forgotten part of American history to its rightful place among the seminal events of the Civil Rights movement. For 30 days and 3,000 miles, Sprigle and Dobbs traveled among dirt-poor sharecroppers, principals of ramshackle black schools, and families of lynching victims. The nationally syndicated newspaper series hit the media like an atom bomb, eliciting a fierce response from the Southern media. Six years before Brown v. Board of Education, seven years before the murder of Emmett Till, eight years before Little Rock s Central High School was integrated, and thirteen years before John Howard Griffin's similar experiment became the bestselling Black Like Me, an unlikely pair of heroes brought black lives to the forefront of American consciousness.