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

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  122 ratings  ·  24 reviews
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 ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published April 1st 2017 by Lyons Press
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Linda Quick
Jan 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This a fascinating book that was extremely well researched and written. I'm sorry to say that I was unfamiliar with Ray Sprigle prior to reading it. Prior to starting the book, I thought it would be more about the experiences of John Howard Griffin in Black Like Me. I was stunned to read that a journalist had actually gone undercover in the Jim Crow south many years earlier.

The author introduces us to the time period by giving us a brief history of key figures of the time as well as the racial i
Kim Raccoon
May 05, 2017 rated it liked it
3.5 stars.

Unarguably interesting and informative, it wasn't what I expected. I thought there would be more direct resources from Ray Sprigle, rather than Bill Steigerwald's research on this event.

The book could get repetitive and the end was slow in coming, but this is also one of the most balanced reads about the pre-civil rights era South I've ever read.
Jun 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: in-real-life
I am so glad to have come across this book at the library. I'd not heard of Ray Sprigle (rhymes with Wiggle) before, and this telling of his story and the stories of the people around him in this particular experience was extremely intriguing. Also intriguing (and somewhat disheartening) was the cultural insight into the perspectives of those who both supported and disagreed with Sprigle's project - because the sentiments on both sides of the fence don't seem to have changed much since then.

In t
Sherry Elmer
This excellent book tells a story that desperately needs to be told. I thought I had some knowledge of segregation and racism, but I knew such a small fraction of what was going on. Absolutely horrible. Should be required reading for high school students (and adults) all across this great land. My student will be reading this when he is the right age.
Jun 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
This is a book that all people should read. What a brave undertaking that these men did. To travel in the Jim Crow South, white, well respected reporter to bring to the masses how Black people lived. This book made me look up a few characters that were part of this magnificent book. To the author, I salute you. Thank you for this wonderful history. Wonderful read. To the author, publisher and Netgalley, thank you for the ARC of this great book in return for my honest review.
Craig Wanderer
Sep 14, 2018 rated it liked it
If you are looking for a great expose as the title states, look elsewhere.
This is a book about Jim Crow filled with facts and meticulous detail by Stegerwald however he left out one thing, details of the Events of Sprigle as a Black Man in the South.
You are left with the impression that Sprigle's adventure to the south was nothing short of a cheap stunt, but you realize the stunt would lead to a desperately needed discussion on Jim Crow and Human rights.
I truly appreciate the work the Author
Feb 27, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: junk
The title is nice and catchy. A perfect title to elicit attention. Only there was an article there. And this is simply a list of trivia from various sources. Sadly, not really about the referenced man whose name is not even featured in the title. There are much better books about the subject and about lived experiences and not from an armchair sleuth.
Apr 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
I had no idea a journalist did a real life Black Like Me experiment years before the book was printed. Very informative!
Randall Russell
Dec 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
I found this book to be an interesting portrayal of the Jim Crow South in 1948. I realized after I started it that this is actually a book about another book - In the Land of Jim Crow by Ray Sprigle. This book is about Ray Sprigle, who was a reporter for a Pittsburgh newspaper, and went "undercover" as a black man in the South for 30 days. This book (30 Days a Black Man), tells the larger story of who Ray Sprigle was, what Pittsburgh was like in 1948, the publishing of Sprigle's book in 1949, an ...more
Arminda Lindsay
I loved the concept of this book but thought its telling didn’t keep me fully engaged from start to finish. I really enjoyed the beginning in which the history of Pittsburgh was established against which the overview of the Jim Crow South was contrasted in broad strokes. I was fascinated by the journey through the south, led by John Wesley Dobbs , who I thought was the most intriguing and important character in the entire book.

After Ray Sprigle returned north and the story continued as the auth
Sugarpuss O'Shea
I have mixed feelings about this book. Mr Steigerwald does a great job providing the reader with details about the people, places, & things which help to paint a picture of the world Ray Sprigle & John Wesley Dobbs traveled through in 1948. So good in fact, that you can't wait to learn how Mr Sprigle will describe his 30 day journey to the Jim Crow South. Unfortunately, you never get read his exposé. After all of the build-up about this "dangerous, trailblazing work," we only get to read a smatt ...more
Mike Pollack
Sep 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Good informative book about Jim Crow in the South. I agree with on review I saw that I was a bit disappointed by the lack of excerpts from the original work by Ray Sprigle included in the book- a few more would have been nice. The book does go into some good detail on a number of others involved with Sprigles 30 day trip, this gives a nice rounded picture of things. The latter chapters present some counter arguments to Sprigle made by contemporaries and follow-on events, these did leave me wonde ...more
Jul 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
In 1948 a reporter went to Florida, worked on his tan for three weeks, and then traveled around the South for a month to see what it was like to be a black man. This book describes that experience. This is quite a story and I learned a lot reading the book. I wonder what it would be like to try this in today's America? ...more
Aug 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
i was born in 1954 but grew up in a mid size southern california town and had no idea of the atrocities that went on in the south. some of this book was a bit dry...too much like history class...but mostly very interesting. how sad that black people were treated so unfairly. God made us all equal and we should remember that it doesn't matter what color your skin is; we are all the same. ...more
Jon Nielson
Dec 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Just fascinating and not that long ago.
Jessica Barringer
This book should be a staple in all US History classes. Insightful and well written. There's nothing like a good book to help you realize how much you don't know but should. ...more
Eric DeGroot
May 21, 2020 rated it liked it
Jul 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Interesting and fascinating story. One of the most well-researched books I've read in a while. ...more
Aug 27, 2017 rated it liked it
Not what I expected, but very informative.
Linda Anderson
Jul 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
I learned much by reading this book and am so glad I read it
Nov 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
This should be required reading for all Americans. What a heartbreaking tale of how we have treated our fellow Americans. I am sure this book did not even scratch the surface of the ugliness too.
Mar 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have to admit that reading this book was at times (for me) uncomfortable and really hit me emotionally yet it is a book that I will definitely read again and recommend others to read as well. I am humbled and awed at the courage of these two men who had the courage to go undercover and expose the horrible prejudice and bigotry of the South. Highly recommended.
Aug 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a great read for those interested in the period of Jim Crow and the Civil Rights Movement. A white reporter from the North joins with a black southern Civil Rights icon to travel by car through the South. The white reporter disguises himself as a Negro to blend in and capture the most subtle points of what it was like to be a black man. His reporting was eye-opening to many who read his series of stories published in multiple newspapers, later turned into a book. Most of "30 Days a Black ...more
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Bill Steigerwald has written two books since retiring from his newspaper career, his journalism/civil rights history book "30 Days a Black Man" (2017), and "Dogging Steinbeck" (2013), his expose of the fictions and lies John Steinbeck and his publisher put into "Travels With Charley." He is a veteran journalist from Pittsburgh who worked as an editor and writer/reporter/columnist for the Los Angel ...more

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