In 1948 a white journalist from Pittsburgh left for Florida to begin his journey into the Deep South as a black man. He wanted a firsthand experience of the fears and difficulties faced by Black Americans under the Jim Crow system, but he also wanted an opportunity to talk with the many people living under the oppressive rules. The only way to achieve those objectives was to pass as a black man; he wanted to be one of them and someone they would trust.
Ray Sprigle didn’t make this journey alone. His lack of experience and knowledge of the South, a healthy dose of fear, and a desire to entice the southern blacks to be open guided him to ask for help from the NAACP. They introduced him to a well-known respected civic figure and highly influential man by the name of John Wesley Dobbs. Together they traveled through several southern states meeting the people who were suffering under the oppressive system of segregation.
His articles were published on page one of the Post-Gazette as a 21-part series beginning August 9, 1948. The series was syndicated in approximately 15 other newspapers above the Mason-Dixon Line and in one that was popular throughout the South among the Black American population, the Pittsburgh Courier.
Missy’s story of her friendship with Addie begins in 1945. A better understanding of their world and specifically of Addie’s life can be gained by reading these ground-breaking articles. Gather together with your friends to discuss the many issues that affected Addie and why she kept them hidden from her friend and us. Visit http://old.post-gazette.com/sprigle/default.asp
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Santayana