A review of John Howard Griffin's "Black Like Me"

Essay by TheShive101High School, 11th gradeA, February 2006

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"Black like me" was written in 1959 by John Howard Griffin. Griffin is a middle-aged white Southerner with a passionate commitment to the cause of racial justice. In order to understand what life is like for black Americans, Griffin undergoes medical therapy to darken his skin color, then poses as a black man for nearly two months. This is an extent book, and provides a clear window into a black mans life in the 1950's.

This book is an excellent read, Griffin clearly illustrates separation between White and Black in 50's. Throughout the course of Black Like Me, Griffin seems to effortlessly depict the struggles of African Americans in the south. This book intreged me because it not only showed the life of a black man, but compared it to that of the exact same man with lighter skin. The contrast between Griffin's experience as a white man and his experience as a black man seems almost unreal to me.

While reading this book I had to keep reminding myself that this was a true story that actual took place. The part of this book that most clearly illustrates the division in the two races are Griffin's two meals as a White man, and a Black man--one in a luxurious restaurant in the white French Quarter, and one with Williams and Joe of raccoon meat and rice. Another part of the book that stood out for me was the fear that Griffin had when he is in caugneto. He talks about hearing the word "nigger" all around him, and receiving hateful stares from whites everywhere he went. By his reaction to these gestures, their is no doubt the he felt personally insulted. throughout his diary, Griffin portrays to the reader that no matter how accustomed...