Black Like Me: Summary

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Summary of Preface, 1961 and Deep South Journey, October 28 – November 6, 1959

Preface, 1961

Black Like Me is the diary of journalist John Howard Griffin’s experiences while disguised as a black man in the deep South in 1959. In a brief preface, written in 1961, Griffin offers an introduction to the work. While he first conceived his experiment as a scientific research study, he has decided to publish the results in the form of a diary. The diary, he says, may not tell the whole story of racism in the South, but it’s a true picture of what it’s like to be black in a land that tries to keep blacks down. Some may argue that it’s a false picture; it’s the white man’s experience of being black, but Griffin says it’s silly to argue about these matters when people are suffering. Besides, he argues, it’s not about black and white; it’s a universal problem. He could’ve been disguised as a Jew in Germany, or as a member of any “inferior” group, and the story would’ve been the same. He offers the journal in all its crudity and rawness.

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