Black Like Me By John Howard Griffin

The country seemed to be awakening to the depth of injustices suffered by black people. Hundreds of college students white and black, poured into black areas to register black citizens for the vote. In areas outside of the south, students on campuses were deeply concerned and picketed local businesses that continued to practice discrimination.- John Howard Griffin (Black Like Me)

If you’re a quick read you may haven’t thought this was talking about today’s current climate. However, in actuality this quote was taken from John Howard Griffins’ first book ” Black Like Me”. This book is a timeless gem that details his experience as he navigates the south as black man. Before the strange now norm of bleaching, tanning, and realistic mask Mr. Griffin took it upon himself to become a part of the struggle to get a better understanding of racism. Black Like Me is written in 1959 before the late great Martin Luther King and Malcom X became neighborhood and household names.

As a journalist Mr. Griffin is one of many whites at the time who does not support nor condone racism. However, he doesn’t know how to help nor does he understand what we and people of color go through on a daily bases. He wants to get in the mind of a negro; to feel what he feels, think what he thinks, do what he does, all to truly try to gain a deeper understanding. Initially intending it to be sort of a science experiment; as he has to receive a few injections, use certain staining cream, and take a few capsules to change and maintain his dark pigmentation.  After sharing his experience Mr. Griffin experiences backlash and a series of threats from his community causing his family to relocate to Mexico. Over the years many people wanted his story to be told along with the insight he gained during his experience; leading to Mr.Griffin working closes with Dick Gregory, Stockley Carmichael, Martin Luther King, and many other prominent Black figures.

Black Like Me shares insight on the 1968 Miami Republican Convention were a riot unfolded as Nixon became president; revealing the secrete push of the government as well as media to entice a race war (doesn’t that sound familiar). Throughout the book you can find many present day parallels in regards to what defines a true Black Community Leader as well as tips given in ways white business men and leaders could help solve the many issues in the Ghettos. Black Like Me offers much insight in regards to history they may have never been told; giving you a true account of from the inside of Civil Rights progression.

This perhaps was the most terrible time in modern history insofar as civil rights were concerned in this land. Black people began to believe in greater numbers that this country was really moving toward genocide, and from the point of view of Black America, the evidence  was alarming. – John Howard Griffin ( Black Like Me)

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