Black Like Me

  • by John Howard Griffin
  • Narrated by Ray Childs
  • 6 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Writer John Howard Griffin (1920-1980) decided to perform an experiment in order to learn from the inside out how one race could withstand the second class citizenship imposed on it by another race. Through medication, he dyed his skin dark and left his family and home in Texas to find out. The setting is the Deep South in 1959. What began as scientific research ended up changing his life in every way imaginable. When he decided the real story was in his journals, he published them, and the storm that followed is now part of American history.
As performed by Ray Childs, this first-ever recording of Black Like Me will leave each listener deeply affected. John Howard Griffin did the impossible to help bring the full effect of racism to the forefront of America's conscience.

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What the Critics Say

"No one can read it without suffering." (Dallas Morning News)
"Only the coldest of hearts could be unaffected by this story, told with dignity and warmth, conviction and steadfast honesty. Audiobooks like this can help heal wounds and open minds about racism, an issue our nation still struggles with." (AudioFile)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Absolutely Stunning!

What a fantastic book! Had this in my audible library and finally got around to reading it.

First of all, it was hard to believe that you could physically transform a white man to a black man, but I've seen the before and after pictures online and it was amazing.

Secondly, the various situations he encountered were almost unbelievable. From a man who picked him up while he was hitchiking, primarily to ask him about his genitalia, to the shoe shine man who didn't realize he was the same guy before and after, the stories in this book are simply astounding!

Third, it is also curious as to how dangerous an undertaking this actually was. Can't believe he came out physically unscathed, although there are some close calls in the book. (However, after the book was published, he and his family had to flee to Mexico due to death threats).

Like "Uncle Tom's Cabin", this is a must-read and really points out how it feels to be on the "other side". Highly recommend!!!!
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- Tim

This book brings back memories...

memories of the growing up in the very racially segregated rural South with Jim Crow laws that would not allow my black friends/neighbors to go to the same school, use the same public restrooms, drink from the same public drinking fountains, and eat in the same restaurants as me. It brings back memories of this wonderful book.and memories of meeting and talking with John Howard Griffin. And memories of losing my signed copy from the original run of this beautiful book years later during a move. Finally, it brings back memories of the KKK burning a cross in our yard 30 feet from our house in June of 1955 just before my 12th birthday to warn us to stop associating with our closest neighbors and friends who happened to be black.

I was born and raised in the very racially segregated rural US South, and I am white. I first read Black Like Me late in 1961 as a freshman in college in Chapel Hill NC. During the first semester of my junior year (fall semester of 1963) I took a sociology course that used Black Like Me as the textbook and which had John Howard Griffin for three guest lectures. I was a math and chemistry major, so the sociology course was one of my few electives. The sociology class was small with approximately 20 students, all white. (The first few black students were admitted to UNC-CH for the fall semester of 1961 and during 1963 the black student population was still very small.)

For more than 50 years I have cherished Black Like Me and spending some time discussing his experiences with the remarkable man who wrote it. I was active in civil rights demonstrations at the time. As I look back at the impact of the book and of our participation in in the cause of ending racial segregation and Jim Crow laws, it strikes me that our efforts were a miniscule portion of promotion of necessary changes. That also applies to the book.

As much as Griffin was exposed to discrimination by most white people he encountered in the deep US South and the horrid inconveniences caused by Jim Crow laws because of the color of his skin, he also found that the discrimination was not universal; there were also acts of kindness from many of those white people.

When I first read Black Like Me it represented the world that existed in the South at that time. It's power now is as a raw document of history written at the time it was happened. The book is also a powerful statement of the courage of one person among the multitude that through their combined efforts changed laws and a system that discriminated against people because of the color of their skin.

In the end, the major power of Black Like Me is that it tells a historical story in a way and with a power that is unmatched by that in history books.
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- Wayne

Book Details

  • Release Date: 12-24-2003
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.