XIX-"I Was a Negro in the South for 30 Days" - Ray Sprigle - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

XIX-"I Was a Negro in the South for 30 Days" - Ray Sprigle - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Atlanta Is the Black Capital of U.S.

by: Ray Sprigle | publication date: August 30, 1948 | Publication: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | pages: 1

 Atlanta Negroes like to boast that their town is the "Black Capital of America." They react with horror and indignation to outrages against Negroes in the smaller towns of the South. They contribute thousands to defense funds to protect the rights of their people or avenge their wanton murder. For hours they’d sit and assure me that "It can’t happen here." But the bloody record of Negro killings in their own town proves them wrong. Reluctantly they’ll finally admit it. That’s another thing I’ll never understand - the intense local patriotism of the Southern Negro. If he lives in Atlanta, then Atlanta’s the finest town in the world. And Georgia is the greatest state. He wouldn’t live anywhere else. And the Mississippi Negro will pound the tale and tell him he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. As a temporary black man I’ll tell the world right now that there isn’t a square foot of the South that I like and if I were permanently black, if you ever caught me south of the Smith and Wesson line you could shoot me. But if you’re black it isn’t too hard to get yourself thoroughly killed by a white cop, or a street car motorman or just a plain everyday gun totin’ citizen, in this "liberal" town of Atlanta.  

Sprigle, disguised as a black man, visits Atlanta, and finds its reputation for relative tolerance to be overstated.

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