The Accident of Color: A Story of Race in Reconstruction. Highly recommended by Wizzy.

A history of the first civil rights movement and its collapse into black and white, “The Accident of Color” tells the story of a lost civil rights movement, mostly in New Orleans and Charleston, that desegregated school districts, transit systems, lunch counters, and opera houses nearly a century before the better-known 1960s movement. Led by openly biracial activists who had been free before the Civil War and allies at the fringes of whiteness, the movement notched tremendous successes before being crushed in a violent political backlash. “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.
About the author: Daniel Brook is a journalist and author whose writing has appeared in “Harper’s,” the “New York Times Magazine,” and “The Nation.”