Black Like me
The book Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin is a moving true story of how a white man manages to experience what it is like to be a “Negro” or black person in the 1950s. The author did this social experiment by taking medication and dying his skin a deep brown. He wanted to really experience the challenges and changes a black man in this time would go through. By traveling through the far south, Griffin got a taste of what real life was for a Negro. The experiment starts in the 1950’s and continues through the 1960’s. Griffin was a journalist seeking an opportunity to truly get to know what life was like for a Black person, especially in the South. At the time he was a middle-aged white man and grew up in Texas, where he lived with his wife and children. After deciding to start this dramatic experiment, he told his wife that he was going to change his skin color from white to black. She understood that it was something he had to do, and agreed that he should do it. Griffin writes, “For years the idea haunted me…” (1). He wanted to really feel what it would be like to be a black man in America. Griffen began his search in 1959 for help to achieve the color change. He wrote, “Arrived by plane as night set in. I checked my bags at the Hotel Monteleone in the French Quarter and began walking.” (5). Griffin had arrived in New Orleans, Louisiana. “In the morning I called the medical information service and asked for the names of some prominent dermatologists.” (6). With the help of many doctors he was able to transform himself into a black man with special medication and dye for his skin. On November 7th he set out on his journey, alone, in a whole new life. A few days before taking his medication, he met a black shoeshine boy by the name of Sterling. “I walked to the same shoeshine stand in the French Quarter that I had been visiting as a white man.” (22). He met with Sterling and they talked about what life was like for him and his friend who sold...
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