A simultaneous equisection experiment using a CRT in a dark surround was performed to investigate the relationship between a uniform background and the perception of lightness. The resulting curves for different backgrounds show both exponential properties, for black and white backgrounds, and sigmoidal characteristics, for intermediate grays. The sigmoidal properties are due to crispening and roughly intersect the diagonal or identity at the lightness of the background. The simultaneous contrast is greatest for the middle gray and decreases as the device white and black points are approached. An example equation is provided to fit the observations. This equation has as its input the L* of the stimuli and the background and has two fitting parameters. The issue of lightness scaling for backgrounds is also considered and finally extensions to this research are briefly mentioned.