30 Days a Black Man

In 1948 Pittsburgh's greatest journalist Ray Sprigle went undercover and then shocked the country with his powerful expose of the Jim Crow South. The history book that retells the amazing forgotten story.

Dogging Steinbeck

When Bill Steigerwald retraced the 1960 road trip John Steinbeck made for  'Travels With Charley' in 2010 he found the iconic road book was more fiction than fact. The true story of how Steigerwald changed the way 'Charley' will be read forever.

Exposing Old Jim Crow

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Ray Sprigle spent 30 days living like a black man in the segregated South. What he saw made him ashamed to be an American. What he wrote woke up the country. Read his original 1948 series.

Hope and a prayer — and a choice

February 3, 2021 |

Here’s a look back at how the Diocese of Pittsburgh’s inner-city Catholic schools used lots of love and discipline to give young black kids the education they needed and their parents wanted. In 1994 when I realized the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette had not written two words about the Diocese of Pittsburgh’s three inner-city “Extra Mile Schools,”…

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A critique of Richard Florida’s new book “The Urban Crisis” in Forbes nails it — it is the zoning and land use regs, stupid

May 9, 2017 |

The smart young man — Scott Beyer of http://bigcitysparkplug.com/ — who wrote the smack-on critique of my pal Richard Florida’s new book The New Urban Crisis for Forbes — is coming to Pittsburgh next year. His visit will be part of his 30-city project to study the incredibly stupid things that have been done by…

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How government used the law and racist policies to segregate America — and keep it that way

May 6, 2017 |

In the Jim Crow South, the system of segregation was, as we’ve been told for half a century, de jure — established and enforced by law. In the North, racial segregation, we were told, was de facto segregation — a result of private, uncoordinated choices made by individuals and institutions. In 30 Days a Black…

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Flying somewhere? Buy my 1948 civil rights history book from Hudson News

May 3, 2017 |

My old friend Dan Splain, behind whom I sat for six years in alphabetically fixated Catholic school in the southern suburbs of Pittsburgh, took the photo while bound for Tahiti, a place I think I have heard of. It’s a hopeful sign that the book is being noticed. I hope it was in the LA…

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A vintage Q&A with Ethan Nadelmann, the tireless and sainted reformer who beat the drug warriors — so far

April 28, 2017 |

 in 1999 when I interviewed anti-drug-war warrior Ethan Nadelmann for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette he was optimistic about reforming America’s hideous drug laws when he really had no right to be. In 2009 when I interviewed Nadelmann about America’s war on drugs and the prospects of the government losing it, things were looking rosier for the…

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A Look Down at Ray Sprigle from the Ivory Tower

April 28, 2017 |

We’re still hoping/praying for a rave review of 30 Days a Black Man from The New York Times or The Wall Street Journal. Or a nice Sunday Morning segment from CBS. Until then, let’s go way back to Feb. 14, in mid-Black History Month, when Smithsonian.com ran a long and thoughtful article about my book…

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A good re-meeting with crazy talker John McIntire in the hallowed and potent studios of KDKA 1020

April 27, 2017 |

John McIntire kindly asked me to visit his regular Wednesday/Thursday night talk show on KDKA-AM, the powerful and once important radio voice of Pittsburgh that I grew up listening to religiously. They used to say when the world ended, everyone in this tawn would turn to KD Radio’s 50,000-watt signal to get the details. Now,…

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Bill's Q&A's

Q&A: Tucker Carlson, before he became King of Cable — and GOP presidential timber

Tucker Carlson of Fox News has risen to the top of the cable news heap to become the most-watched, most-hated and most influential commentator in our politically fractured and deeply divisive country. He’s so popular, now he’s being touted as a Republican presidential candidate for 2024. The Washington Post, his former colleagues at MSNBC and…
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Bill Steigerwald

Bill Steigerwald is a veteran journalist from Pittsburgh. His new nonfiction book "30 Days a Black Man" tells the amazing but forgotten story about an undercover mission by a Pittsburgh newspaperman into the Jim Crow South in 1948 that shook up the whole country. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette star reporter Ray Sprigle's nationally syndicated series "In the Land of Jim Crow" exposed the iniquities and humiliations suffered by ten million black Americans in the segregated South. It shocked the white people of the North, angered the South and started the first national debate in the media about ending America's legal apartheid. Kirkus Review said "30 Days a Black Man" is "a fascinating account of an anti-Jim Crow muckraking adventure..." that Steigerwald turned "into rollicking, haunting American history." ... READ MORE