UNDERCOVER STORY Bill Steigerwald discusses his latest book, 30 days a Black Man: The Forgotten Story That Exposed the Jim Crow South, 7 p.m., Monday, September 11. In 1948, most white people in the north had no idea what daily life was like for the 10 million black Americans living in the south. That changed after Ray Sprigle, a white Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reporter who had won a Pulitzer Prize in 1938, 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. Six years before Brown v. Board of Education, seven years before the murder of Emmett Till and 13 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.
The Press Club of Western Pennsylvania presents the Ray Sprigle Award each year to the best journalist. Author Steigerwald elevates Sprigle’s groundbreaking exposé to its rightful place among the seminal events of the early Civil Rights movement. Steigerwald’s 36-year career as a reporter includes stints with the Los Angeles Times, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
INTERNATIONAL POTLUCK Welcoming Week, a national effort, aims to bring together immigrants and U.S. born citizens. Celebrate it at the library with an International Potluck, 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, September 19. It’s a great opportunity to enjoy the growing diversity of our community. Please bring one interesting dish—an entrée, salad or dessert—to share. The library will supply the drinks. Dinner will be in the library courtyard. Open to residents of all ages.
THE STORY OF YOUR LIFE At 7 p.m., Thursday, September 28, James R. (Bob) Hagerty, chief obituary writer for The Wall Street Journal, will offer a free seminar on how to gather and organize the needed materials for your obituary—or a loved one—to make sure it provides the information and insights you want preserved for your family and future generations.
Please note: The library will be closed, Sunday, September 3, and Monday, September 4, for Labor Day.