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The book “Black like me” by John Howard Griffin was published in 1961 for the first time, which coincided with the beginning of the Civil movement. It brought him both notoriety among those, who were accused implicative of racism and international respect and the place of a leading advocate in a Civil Rights Movement. The book is an account of the trip of a white journalist who takes the risk to go on a six-week trip to racially discriminated Southern states in the likeness of a black man. During this trip he takes notes in a form of a diary about everything which is the store for any black man, living in this country.
The first thing which occurs after reading this book is that it is a truly remarkable piece of writing, needed at the time it was published. It is a most opportune work that explores national identity and denies racial segregation of the time. One might even say that this book is a try to equalize black and white people in their rights. And still, the question arises, how successful was that try. As one of the best cons in this book, I see that the author and the character of the book are the same people. John Griffin went on his quest to find out what the real situation was with civil rights and how bad it was. It is a brave deed on the side of the author. After being transformed into a black man, he discovers that life can bring really hard times just thanks to your color of skin. Unfortunately, sometimes it predetermines one’s fortune in life.
Considering the episodes of the book, the episode on the bus can not be lost on the reader. It is defined as a climax of the book as it shows how far the hatred between black and white went. When every slight attempt to compromise is excepted with sarcasm and misunderstanding. This episode is very touching as it allows everybody to feel compassion for the poor man who just attempted to be a gentleman and compassion for a blind lady who failed to see a good goal standing behind this deed. Both black and white people failed to show their real identity in each other’s presence. Thus, black and white didn’t know the real identity of each other.
Then, one of the most memorable episodes, depicted in the book is the episode, with the check, which shows makes one ask himself why did it happen to those poor people or the other episode, where a black man is limited even in the basic conveniences like a restroom.
The book “Black like me” is a breakthrough to a certain extent as it is like no other book that gives an insight into the inner problem of the country in general and some of its parts in particular. The fact that this book had such strong feedback proves that the issues it studies were crucial for the society of that time. It is nothing more than the fact that day in day out people suffered from those issues unable to change anything. But as at least one white man rushes to do something to change the bad fortune of a black one, it is a token of hope for future reconciliation.
John Howard Griffin. Black like me. Signet; 35th-anniversary edition, 1996.