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

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APRIL 2, 1960


Summary

Early in the morning, the author gets a long distance call from a journalist of Star Telegram, who informs him that the white racists of Mansfield have hung his effigy on Main Street. The author finds it very difficult to believe this, especially because of the vigilance of the police. Griffin hopes that some of the town people will come and apologize for this act but this does not happen. The Star Telegram publishes an article on this entire episode. Griffinís father goes to the nearby shop but fortunately comes home safe and sound. When the author goes out, a young man informs him that the racists have decided on a date to attack him. When the author returns home he finds that his wife, fearing the hostility, has packed the bags. Fortunately he has the support of his friends.


Notes

In todayís entry, the author describes the despicable and disgusting act of the white racists hanging his effigy in his hometown. The effigy was half black, half white with a yellow streak painted down its back, reminiscent of the Albino signboard outside a local cafe.

Todayís entry is also a condemnation of the silent majority, whose hostile stare is most disappointing and devastating for the author. It is also a tribute to the sensitive minority; the few friends from far and near, who are supportive and kind, brave and defiant. In the context of the day this is real heroism. This chapter also points out how the police officials, who are in charge of the protecting the rights of the citizens, are involved, although indirectly, in criticizing Griffin for his experiment. These officials in a way support the hanging of the authorís effigy when they do not stop those who are performing the act.

Finally, the entry is also a description of the author, leaving town with his family, since the white racists have decided to castrate him and have even decided the date. The description is dark and stark, in keeping with the grim mood of the local people.



APRIL 7, 1960


Summary

The white newspaper that had informed the author about the effigy hanging, carries a follow-up -- how the local racists had burned a cross at a nearby Negro school. The author thinks that it would have been better if they had burnt it on his house or land. The only relief amidst all this hostility is that his friends are always around him to provide support and sympathy. The Turners take Griffin and his family into their home, in order to protect them from being harmed by the white racists.


Notes

Todayís entry describes the progressive role of the white media as it accurately clarifies the issues in the effigy hanging.

It also reveals the authorís deep sensitivity to the Negroes, even in his hour of trial. The author wishes that the white racists had done their evil act on his house or land and not made the innocent Negro children pay the price for his actions.

The next part of the entry is about some more white heroes; friends who stand by him through thick and thin, in spite of the hate and threats of the bullies and castrators.

 


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