A technicolor history of the first civil rights movement and its collapse into black and white.

In The Accident of Color, Daniel Brook journeys to nineteenth-century New Orleans and Charleston and introduces us to cosmopolitan residents who elude the racial categories the rest of America takes for granted.

Story Panel 1 Character Left Story Panel 1 Character Right

During Reconstruction, a movement arises as mixed-race elites make common cause with the formerly enslaved and allies at the fringes of whiteness in a bid to achieve political and social equality for all.

Story Panel 2 Character Left Story Panel 2 Character Right

Activists peacefully integrate the streetcars of Charleston and New Orleans for decades and, for a time, even the New Orleans public schools and the University of South Carolina are educating students of all backgrounds side by side.

Story Panel 3 Character Left Story Panel 3 Character Right

Tragically, the achievements of this movement are swept away by a violent political backlash and expunged from the history books, culminating in the Jim Crow laws that legalize segregation for a half century and usher in the binary racial regime that rules us to this day.

Ransier Roudanez

Praise for The Accident of Color