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undercover: I was a Negro in the South for 30 Days

Fifty years ago, Ray Sprigle of the Post-Gazette posed as a black man to experience firsthand what life was like for 10 million people living under the system of legal segregation known as Jim Crow.

As he wrote in his 21-part series,
"I Was a Negro in the South for 30 Days":

"I quit being white, and free, and an American citizen when I climbed aboard that Jim Crow coach. . . . From then on, until I came up out of the South four weeks later, I was black, and in bondage — not quite slavery but not quite freedom, either.’’

19980801hoSprigle1M.jpg (44665 bytes)

Ray Sprigle in the newsroom.

  To mark the 50th anniversary of Sprigle's work, which was first published in the Post-Gazette beginning Aug. 9, 1948, the Post-Gazette republished selected chapters from his accounts.

Post-gazette.com has compiled the entire 21-part series for publication, including an introduction by Post-Gazette staff writer Bill Steigerwald that looks at Sprigle's unusual reporting career..

The language and editing remain the same as when the stories first appeared.

Here is an index to the entire series:


Chapter 1 -- 'I Traveled, Ate, Black'

Chapter 2 -- Acquiring a Negro Appearance

Chapter 3 -- Going South by Jim Crow Car

Chapter 4 -- A Discussion in a Pleasant Negro Home

Chapter 5 -- A Woman Tells How Her Husband Died

Chapter 6 -- Beginning a Trip Into The Rack Country

Chapter 7 -- What It Means to Be a Share-Cropper

Chapter 8 -- Two Negroes Who Have Earned Their Way

Chapter 9 -- Jim-Crow Is Kicked In the Pants

Chapter 10 -- A Soldier Who Came Home to Die

Chapter 11 -- A Most Successful Negro Farmer

Chapter 12 -- Negro Doctors Treat White Patients

Chapter 13 -- A Visit to a Jim Crow School

Chapter 14 -- Feudalism Lives on In the Delta

Chapter 15 -- A Marble Monument To Cruelty

Chapter 16 -- The Falsity of "Separate but Equal"

Chapter 17 -- Atlantic Ocean for White Folks Only

Chapter 18 -- A Leaf out of the Jim Crow Book

Chapter 19 -- Atlanta Is the Black Capital of U.S.

Chapter 20 -- Does the Negro Hate The White Man?

Chapter 21 -- What Does the Negro Really Want?

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