||"A history of the first civil rights movement and the origins of black and white in America. When we hear "civil rights," we tend to think of the 1950s and 1960s activism that put an end to Jim Crow segregation laws. In The Accident of Color, Daniel Brook takes us to New Orleans and Charleston, where before the Civil War, free, biracial people-- sometimes referred to as "browns"-- exercised many rights of citizenship. During Reconstruction, as a black- white binary displaced that nuanced tripartite system, "browns" made common cause with the formerly enslaved and allies at the fringes of whiteness. Tragically, the significant legal victories they scored together-- like desegregating streetcars and schools-- were swept away by a fierce backlash, which culminated in the Jim Crow regime. By revisiting a turning point in the evolution of America's racial system, The Accident of Color brings to life a moment from our distant past that illuminates the origins of the racial lies we live by"-- Provided by publisher.