John Howard Griffin

John Howard Griffin - John Howard Griffin Black Like Me...

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John Howard Griffin Black Like Me John Howard Griffin was a journalist and a specialist on race issues. After publication, he became a leading advocate in the Civil Rights Movement and did much to promote awareness of the racial situations and pass legislature. He was middle aged and living in Mansfield, Texas at the time of publication in 1960. His desire to know if Southern whites were racist against the Negro population of the Deep South, or if they really judged people based on the individual's personality as they said they prompted him to cross the color line and write Black Like Me. Since communication between the white and African American races did not exist, neither race really knew what it was like for the other. Due to this, Griffin felt the only way to know the truth was to become a black man and travel through the South. His trip was financed by the internationally distributed Negro magazine Sepia in exchange for the right to print excerpts from the finished product. After three weeks in the Deep South as a black man John Howard Griffin produced a 188-page journal covering his transition into the black race, his travels and experiences in the South, the shift back into white society, and the reaction of those he knew prior his experonce the book was published and released. John Howard Griffin began this novel as a white man on October 28, 1959 and became a black man (with the help of a noted dermatologist) on November 7. He entered black society in New Orleans through his contact Sterling, a shoe shine boy that he had met in the days prior to the medication taking full effect. Griffin stayed with Sterling at the shine stand for a few days to become assimilated into the society and to learn more about the attitude and mindset of the common black man. After one week of trying to find work other than menial labor, he left to travel throughout the Southern states of Mississippi, Alabama, and Texas. November 14, the day he decided to leave, was the day after the Mississippi jury refused to indict or consider the evidence in the Mack Parker kidnap-lynch murder case. He decided to go into the heart of Mississippi, the Southern state most feared by blacks of that time, just to see if it really did have the "wonderful relationship" with their Negroes that they said they did. What he found in Hattiesburg was tension in the state so apparent and thick that it scared him to death. One of the reasons for this could be attributed to the Parker case decision because the trial took place not far from Hattiesburg. He knew it was a threat to his life if he remained because he was not a true Negro and did not know the proper way to conduct himself in the present situation. Griffin requested that one of his friends help him leave the state as soon as possible. P.D. East, Griffin's friend, was more than willing to help his friend out of the dangerous situation that he had gotten himself into and back to New Orleans. From New Orleans, traveled to Biloxi, Mississippi and
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This note was uploaded on 01/09/2011 for the course EDS 103 taught by Professor White during the Spring '10 term at E. Kentucky.

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John Howard Griffin - John Howard Griffin Black Like Me...

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