Daniel Brook is a journalist and author whose writing has appeared in Harper’s, the New York Times Magazine, and The Nation. His last book, A History of Future Cities, was longlisted for the Lionel Gelber Prize and selected as one of the ten best books of the year by the Washington Post. His newest book, The Accident of Color: A Story of Race in Reconstruction (W. W. Norton & Company)is 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. Before the Civil War, these free, openly mixed-race urbanites enjoyed some rights of citizenship and the privileges of wealth and social status. But after Emancipation, as former slaves move to assert their rights, the black-white binary that rules the rest of the nation begins to intrude. The Accident of Color revisits a crucial inflection point in American history. By returning to the birth of our nation’s singularly narrow racial system, which was forged in the crucible of opposition to civil rights, Brook illuminates the origins of the racial lies we live by.