ERIC Number: EJ912065
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Reference Count: 0
Teaching about Racial Segregation in Postwar America using "Black Like Me"
Hughes, Richard L.
Social Education, v75 n1 p22-25 Jan-Feb 2011
In November 1959, John Howard Griffin, a white novelist from Texas, struck up a conversation with a black shoeshine man near the French Quarter in New Orleans, Louisiana. The two men were acutely aware of the chasm that separated races in the Jim Crow South, but their relationship would soon change. Griffin, who wanted to obtain a deeper understanding of life for African Americans in the South, had begun a series of treatments to superficially change his racial identity. After visiting a skeptical dermatologist, Griffin shaved his head and used oral medicine, stain, and hours of exposure to ultraviolet rays to darken his complexion. A few days later Griffin, who had a wife and two children in Texas, returned to the shoeshine stand and began a poignant and dangerous journey through the Deep South, ostensibly as a black man. The result of Griffin's six-week odyssey was "Black Like Me," a provocative memoir published 50 years ago about the stark realities of racial injustice in postwar America. "Black Like Me" provides students with greater insight into the evolution of segregation in American society. (Contains 4 notes.)
Descriptors: African Americans, Racial Segregation, Racial Identification, Teaching Methods, Biographies, History Instruction, Authors
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
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