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Man in the Mirror: John Howard Griffin and the Story of Black Like Me

Using various dyes and exposure to UV lights, Griffin successfully changed his skin color from Caucasian to African American. Griffin writes in a diary style, with each chapter being a new day, with a date for each. Griffin accurately describes his experience as a black man and his information stays relevant even to this day. The book begins with Griffin pondering the idea of living as a black. He questions; what adjustments would a white man need to make to live as a black in the south?

Griffin then goes on to describe the steps that he took to prepare himself for this change, including how he got his family on board, and his experience finding a dermatologist who would help him. When Griffin finally starts his treatments, he finds them painful, and they often cause him nausea.

However, because of his dedication, he pulled through and completed the process. The first time Griffin looks at himself in the mirror after his treatment is a major event in the book, showing one of the main themes: losing and regaining identity. This foreshadows how different his life is about to become, and symbolizes his departure from the white community and his entrance into the black one.

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  • In , John Howard Griffin, a white American, disguised himself as a black man | The Times.
  • Handing One Another Along. Teaching Toward Freedom. William Ayers. Louis I. Charles E. Written by Herself: Volume I. A Life in the Academy. Robert Paul Wolff. Prison of Culture. America the Philosophical. Carlin Romano. The Game Changed. Lawrence Joseph. The Thing Itself. Richard Todd. Something for Nothing. Time magazine wrote a story about him and Mike Wallace interviewed him on national TV. When Sepia magazine started publishing Griffin's articles, life in Mansfield became increasingly uncomfortable. Griffin's family received threats and once-cordial whites looked at Griffin with open hostility. One day, Griffin was hung in effigy in town. Instead, a group dragged him away and beat him with chains, left him for dead.

    It took him five months to recover. He was A film of the book was made that same year - a bad film, according to Bonazzi - starring James Whitmore. Griffin spent his remaining years writing and lecturing. He died of a heart attack and complications from diabetes in at age His four children still live in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

    For Bonazzi, Griffin's most significant accomplishment was facing his own racism. In the book, when Griffin first sees his black face in the mirror, he is stunned: "In the flood of light against white tile, the face and shoulders of a stranger - a fierce, bald, very dark Negro - glared at me from the glass. He in no way resembled me. The transformation was total and shocking. I had expected to see myself disguised, but this was something else.

    I was imprisoned in the flesh of an utter stranger, an unsympathetic one with whom I felt no kinship. When he lectured, most of his audience was white and many of them were students. He said it was important if you grew up in the South to work to face this kind of racism. If you face it, he said, you're on your way to becoming unbiased, unprejudiced. For Sanders, the legacy of Black Like Me is not Griffin's individual experience, but that he was brave enough to share it with the rest of the world.