Black like me chapters

Book Report:


October 28th - November 2nd, 1959

John Howard Griffin (JHG) is a specialist for the hard life of Negroes in the south of the USA in the 1950’s. His idea is to change the color of his skin for being able to experience the discrimination on his own. He visits George Levitan, one of his old friends and owner of the magazine SEPIA. After discussing the idea, Levitan pays for all the expenses for changing JHG’s skin color and his trip through the south of the USA. He flies to Louisiana to meet doctors which can finally help him to find the fitting medicine to change the color of his skin from white to black.

November 6th - November 7th

The therapy for changing his skin color has started, he takes special pills and as to sit under a sun lamp. The doctor’s tests were all positive and there will be no problems for JHG to change from white to black and back to white. The doctor likes the project. Unfortunately the treatment does not work as rapidly as expected. After everything is said between JHG and the doctor, the doctor sends him with the words “Now you go into obliviton” away. Now JHG is on his own in New Orleans and stays in different hotels where he continues his treatment. During he finished it, he only steps out at night. Then he can finally start his observations which succeed immediately: Everybody thinks that he is a Negro, he makes his first experiences with the segregation, like bathrooms only for white men. He meets many other Negroes and talks to them about the discrimination.

November 28th

JHG goes from his hotel to the ghetto, were he tries how it is to get along with the people living there. On his way he finds out that he must NEVER take a look at white women. In the ghetto he meets Sterling, who becomes his friend. His work is to shine shoes of white men. JHG works together with him and gets to know how the white people are behaving when their shoes are being shone by a “boy”: For them, the Negro is nothing but a thing. For lunch the eat together with Joe, another Negro. He cooks a mixture of coon, turnips and rise, they eat on the sidewalk out of cut-down milk cartons. JHG gets to know the classes in the ghetto: the lowest eat the rests of the ones who work to get at least a little bit of food. The night he stays - how so often - in the YMCA which serves Negroes. There he meets many Negroes to talk with. In the evening he is being chased by a white bully, but he is lucky and the boy leaves him alone after a while.

November 10th - November 12th

JHG is looking for jobs, as a nicely dressed Negro he wants to discover what he can get. But everywhere he goes it is the same pattern: Nobody wants him. He lives and eats together with Sterling and Joe, he is very-well treated by even Negroes which he does not know. Every Negro he meets is extremely helpful to him. At the YMCA he meets Mr. Gayle, an elderly Negro. They talk about the segregation and the taxes against the Negroes, and how the leaders of the whites try to keep the Negroes where they are. He can not eat in the restaurants that he has been eating in the week before, and while sitting in a park he is sent away by a white man. In the evening he is going by bus, the driver does not let him get off until some white passengers want to get off.

November 14th

After being a Negro for one week, JHG becomes used to not being able to use available restroom facilities and being called nigger, coon or jigaboo. He knows that all this is not against his person or character but his pigmentation. But each “reminder” strikes at the wound and deepens it, he does not only know it from himself but also sees it at other Negroes. Bad news reaches him from Sterling: In Mississippi, a white man who has killed a Negro