BLACK LIKE ME by John Howard Griffin


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This is the journal of a white man who lived in the Deep South as a Negro during 1959. John Howard Griffin, a Texan, crossed the color line in reverse by darkening his skin with medication used by victims of vitiligo and by exposure to ultraviolet rays in order to undergo the experience of racial discrimination as only a Negro can know it. His journey was sponsored by a Negro magazine. He began living as a Negro in New Orleans in November of 1959 and spent his time there and later in Mississippi and Alabama looking for what he says white people take for granted: a place to eat, to get a drink of water, a rest room. He tried also at various times to get a job commensurate with his education and was told one occasion that the ""only jobs you can get"" (in mobile) ""are the ones no white man will have"". He describes his difficulties in trying to cash a traveller's check, the ""hate stares"" he encountered in white strangers, the ordeal of riding an inter-state bus in Mississippi and his shocking experiences as a hitch-hiker with white drivers--who seemed to be chiefly interested in Negro sexuality. All of his experiences were not bad, however, but he did find that when his unusual journalistic methods became public he and his family could no longer live in their home town of Mansfield. His book is a telling testament to the realities of race hatred.

Pub Date: Oct. 5th, 1961
ISBN: 156849730X
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin