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Free Study Guide-Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin-Free Booknotes
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NOVEMBER 19

Summary

The author arrives in a coastal town and learns from a local Negro that Negroes arenít permitted to enjoy the beaches. The blacks find this even more objectionable as a part of the money that they pay for gasoline is used for the maintenance of the beaches. A pleasant Northern white man from Massachusetts gives him a ride and tells Griffin that the whites do not appreciate his sympathy for the blacks. The authorís encounter with the next white man, at the ice cream stand, is an absolute contrast to this. The owner of the ice cream stand is a typical Southern white. He refuses to let the author use the toilet in the dilapidated outhouse near his ice cream stand and directs him to a toilet that is more than ten blocks away.

The authorís next encounter with racism is quite a terrible one. The author asks for lifts and, contrary to the mornings, number of white men give him a ride in their cars. It is only after stepping into the car that Griffin realizes that these men are giving him a lift only to discuss the sexual life of the Negro. One of them even asks him to expose himself, because he has never seen a Negro naked - So much for the ethics and morals of the white man.


In pleasant contrast to these depraved whites the white construction worker from Alabama, who gives Griffin lift appears "color blind," since he does not treat the author as a Negro, but as an equal. From his conversation with the man, Griffin learns that he is returning home to his wife and his infant child, who he loves very much.

Finally, when the author reaches his destination that night, an unknown, kind, elderly Negro preacher invites him to share his tiny, but brightly lit, home as long as he wishes to. This is even though the author is a complete stranger to him.

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