Sunday 26 December 2010

Griffin, John Howard "Black Like Me"

Griffin, John Howard "Black Like Me" - 1961

Another book that was brought to me through our international book club. The author takes some medication that alters his skin colour and disguises as a black guy in the late 50s in the Deep South of the United States. He lives as a "Negro" for several weeks, has lots of problems and gets into some dangerous situations, not just during that time but also when he returns as a white man and publishes his experiences.

A fascinating story, not just for US Americans. The courage it takes to do this and keep on going, amazing. There were so many problems that came up. Although - the most interesting fact about this book is that it isn't a history about a place far far away. Prejudices against people who are different are still present and even though people have different opportunities today, injustice exists everywhere whether you are an immigrant in another country with a different skin colour, have a different opinion, a different history, we can always think about reasons not to like someone.

We discussed this in our book club in December 2009.

From the back cover:

"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."

See more comments on my ThrowbackThursday post in 2022.


  1. This was such a powerful and courageous move. I know about it, but haven't read the book. Great review!

    1. Thanks, Emma, I know, can't believe he did that. And how awful that even after he had done it, people mistreated him because of it. One can only shake one's head about that.