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Free Study Guide for Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin BookNotes

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MARCH 18, 1960


The author appears on David Garroway’s impressive talk show. The host asks him not to soft-pedal or evade the issue in any way. The interview goes off very well as Garroway asks him just the right kind of questions to draw out the complete picture of the issue. Garroway even asks him about racism in the Northern States, but Griffin refuses to answer saying that he is not competent to answer this question.


This entry is about the personal courage of the white host of a talk show, Garroway, who is not afraid of the repercussions, but tells the author to just tell the truth as honestly and frankly as he can and not to worry about the sponsors or anything else. The author is deeply impressed by this and the interview is intensely moving and ends in a resurgence of faith in mankind.

This entry also reveals the sincerity and honesty of the author. He is asked about racism in the North, which he frankly admits he does not know enough about. But he also notes how it is often very shrewdly used to justify the racism of the South.

MARCH 23, 1960


For the past few days the author has been busy doing numerous interviews, conferences, documentaries and talk shows. This is the day when the Times magazine publishes the article on the author’s work. The author is satisfied with the way the magazine has handled the article. The author goes for a radio interview with Mike Wallace. He is apprehensive about the whole thing. The host however soon puts him at ease and the interview session goes off very well. In fact the interview is so remarkable that Wallace orders his crew to cancel everything else and schedule the interview immediately.


This part of the diary vividly describes the author’s feelings about the Wallace talk show, as well as depicts the unique character of Wallace. Before the show the author is very anxious, cautious and nervous of Wallace. But when he meets him face to face, he is pleasantly suprised to find that Wallace’ feelings towards him are similar. Griffin finds him stumbling for words, which is very reassuring. Wallace is a superb host. He is full of enthusiasm and encouragement, as also commitment. So the author is supercharged and the show comes out excellent - a memorable experience for the author and superb handling by Wallace.

APRIL 1, 1960


A French TV crew from Paris arrives to do a personal interview of the author at his home. Then his story is circulated all over the world and mail, telegrams and telephone calls pour in with congratulations. But unfortunately the local situation is not the same. The author has no contact with anyone in town and no one has contact with him. The author does not go to the local stores. He learns that just as cafés have a sign outside the door saying that blacks are not allowed, a local café has put a sign, "No Albinos Allowed." This especially disgusts the author’s parents. The congratulatory notes that he has been receiving makes the author feel that maybe he and his family can continue to stay in Mansfield.


This part of the diary continues exposing the repercussions of the publicity that has been made of the author’s experiment. The author receives bouquets from all over the world, but brickbats from the local people. Only some men and women understand that the author is as much for them and their children as for the Negroes. These people are however scared to openly express their opinion. For the overwhelming majority he is an Albino, which, disgusts his parents, while the author fervently hopes he can continue to live in an atmosphere of peace and understanding.


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