Black Like Me

Black Like Me
Overview
Context
Themes
Griffin, a white writer from Texas, darkens his skin in order to pass as a black man. He then travels to the Deep South in November 1959 and lives among African Americans for six weeks. His purpose—to bear witness to the treatment of African Americans by white Southerners.
identity
After darkening his skin, Griffin sees a stranger
Segregation
Griffin experiences the psychological toll of racism
Recognition
Griffin and his family suffer backlash when he publicizes his experiences
Catholicism
Griffin views the racism he experiences through his Catholic faith and accuses white Christian racists of hypocrisy.
Civil Rights Movement
Griffin's experiment took place at the height of the civil rights movement, which challenged racial segregation and violenc
Racist Backlash
Racist groups and individuals used violence and intimidation to try to keep African Americans down, something Griffin experienced firsthand.
Skin Color
Simply changing skin color results in being treated differently.
Blindness & Invisibility
Blacks feel invisible in a world where whites are blind to racism.
Hospitality
Hospitality toward one another is a way blacks cope with racism.
Author
JOHN HOWARD GRIFFIN
1920-80
Griffin took up writing after blindness resulting from a war injury forced him to abandon his plans to become a doctor. He wrote several essays, short stories, and two novels while blind. After miraculously recovering his sight, he undertook the project that would become Black Like Me.
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