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Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin

Black Like Me (1960)

by John Howard Griffin

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2,662422,240 (3.99)74
  1. 10
    The magnolia jungle; the life, times, and education of a southern editor by P. D. East (Cecrow)
  2. 10
    Ganz unten by Günter Wallraff (edwinbcn)
    edwinbcn: Similar partcicipating observation large scale undercover operations, disclosing racism in Europe and the US, respectively. Classic studies with a huge impact.

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» See also 74 mentions

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  OberlinSWAP | Jul 20, 2015 |
One-of-a-kind story of a white man living as a black man in the deep south in 1959-1060. This definitive edition published in 2006, with index. ( )
  unclebob53703 | Jan 30, 2015 |
A remarkably interesting, if somewhat dated, read. Griffin's experience and his capacity to communicate it are amazing. ( )
  iliadawry | Feb 6, 2014 |
I hope we as a society have made some progress since 1963. when I read this book, or 1961, when it was first published. I suspect we still have a ways to go.

I don't think this was a school assignment, but I'm pretty sure it was recommended by a teacher. I wonder if any diversity classes would assign it now -- perhaps it would be too easy for white kids to dismiss it as long-ago history. Still, I think it has relevance today.

John Howard Griffin decided to find out for himself whether the stories of discrimination were true and how it felt to be black in America. He darkened his skin (with drugs under a doctor's supervision) and set off to find out. The experiences he relates in BLACK LIKE ME brought home to thousands of readers the realities of racism.

Someone doing Griffin's experiment today would not have to worry about forgetting to use the "colored" drinking fountain or where to sit on the bus. But I suspect he would still find that, simply by changing his skin color, much of his daily life would be very different. I would still recommend this book, especially for teens who have grown up in primarily white communities. ( )
  auntieknickers | Jun 14, 2013 |
The author took a substance which made him appear to be black, and then traveled in the South. His account of what he had to undergo during that trip makes this a stirring book indeed. ( )
  Schmerguls | Jun 2, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 42 (next | show all)
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Rest at pale evening... A tall slim tree... Night coming tenderly... Black like me. --From "Dream Variation" Langston Hughes
First words
"This may not be all of it. It may not cover all of the questions, but it is what it is like to be a Negro in a land where we keep the Negro down." - preface
"For years the idea had haunted me, and that night it returned more insistently than ever."
"The most obscene figures are not the ignorant ranting racists, but the legal minds who front for them, who invent for them the legislative proposals and the propoganda bulletins. They deliberately choose to foster distortions, always under the guise of patriotism, upon a people who have no means of checking the facts."
"He cannot understand how the white man can show the most demeaning aspects of his nature and at the same time delude himself into thinking he is inherently superior."
"I learned within a very few hours that no one was judging me by my qualities as a human individual and everyone was judging me by my pigment."
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Haiku summary
Some drugs and makeup
Transform a white man to black
To learn of racism.

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0451208641, Paperback)

In the Deep South of the 1950s, journalist John Howard Griffin decided to cross the color line.  Using medication that darkened his skin to deep brown, he exchanged his privileged life as a Southern white man for the disenfranchised world of an unemployed black man.  His audacious, still chillingly relevant eyewitness history is a work about race and humanity-that in this new millennium still has something important to say to every American.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:29 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

"In the Deep South of the 1950s, a color line was etched in blood across Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia. Journalist John Howard Griffin decided to cross that line. Using medication that darkened his skin to deep brown, he exchanged his privileged life as a Southern white man for the disenfranchised world of an unemployed black man. What happened to John Howard Griffin-- from the outside and within himself-- as he made his way through the segregated Deep South is recorded in this searing work of nonfiction"--Back cover.… (more)

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