Free Study Guide for Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin BookNotes|
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The book starts on October 28, 1959, and ends on August 17, 1960. Thus the period which the author describes is the 1950ís. This was a period of bitter racism practiced by the whites and a time of deep and intense yearning for righteousness by the blacks.
During these years, America was two separate and unequal societies -- segregated between the races -- one black and one white, without any real communication between the two. For the blacks, there was widespread racial discrimination and segregation, oppression and inequality. They suffered poverty, hunger and homelessness. They were unprotected and unrepresented, unemployed and denied healthcare or welfare. They were hated and persecuted, deprived of jobs and justice, opportunities and protection. They were oppressed by white society and commonly victims of police brutality and prejudicial treatment within the justice system. They had no equal civil rights and this hopeless despair of social alienation drained them and broke their spirits and made them silently pessimistic or violently angry. They could only dream and hope for liberty, equality and justice.
On the other hand, white America was also further subdivided between the more democratic North and the more racist South. This is because the war against Negro slavery was waged more militantly in the North under the leadership of Abraham Lincoln, while in the South slavery remained and the underlying discrimination against blacks was maintained for much longer.
Only after Martin Luther King and other revolutionary leaders marched on Washington in 1963 demanding their rights, was segregation finally outlawed and voting rights granted to all Negroes.
This book has always been controversial. It has been burned, protested, and many do not believe it should be available to children, due to the facts it sets forth about racism and the subject matter it contains.
Saturday Review Anisfield Wolf Award (1962)
Christian Culture Series Award
National Council of Negro Women's Award
Pope John XIII Pacen in Terris Peace and Freedom Award
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. 09 May 2017