My friend got me talking about Langston Hughes. My first introduction to my favorite poet was on the inside of an incredible book called Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin. I was only a kid in the 80’s when I read that book and I’m glad I read it when I was young. It gave me a head-start on what is self-awareness.
I dug up my old copy. It still smells the way all paperbacks did from the 70’s.
The documentary I just watched, Brownstones to Red Dirt, also brought me back to that book. One of the children said that he often felt that he was judged poorly because he was black. He made me wonder how relevant Griffin’s book is today, though it is deeply embedded in the very specific time of the civil rights movement in America.
I was very pleased to see that there are still current articles and discussions on the book throughout the internet. The first link is a good read and the second is more a history of the book:
Rereading: Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin
Fifty years after John Howard Griffin darkened his skin and travelled through the segregated US south, his record of the fear and prejudice he experienced is still resonant