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John Howard Griffin

Satisfactory Essays
John Howard Griffin

The black man in the Deep South of America was greatly despised during the 1950’s. The world that the Negroes lived in was not the same as whites in their society. In this book, John Howard Griffin Sacrifices his life as a middle-class white man and becomes a dirt poor Negro, trying to survive in the South. He simply did all of this in order to bring out the truth about what it is really and truly like to be a Negro in the South during the 1950’s.

John Howard Griffin is a white journalist with a wife and three children. He began his project of being a Negro, while he was reading a chart about suicide rates. This chart displayed that the Southern Negro man had a rapidly increasing rate of suicide, because they could not see a reason to go on as the second class citizens that they had become due to their skin color. The whites thought that the Negroes had it made since they had given them “so much” during reconstruction. Griffin realized that the only way to really see the truth about what the Negroes had to endure from day to day was to become a “Negro” himself.

While Griffin was expecting prejudices against himself as a Negro, he went into his project with an open mind trying to discover the truth. He took note of all the prejudices of whites against and took in consideration any acts of kindness. Therefore Griffin’s journal was straightforward and unbiased.

Griffin’s main goal in writing this journal was to break the gap between blacks and whites. He was not trying to totally offend whites, but aware them of their injustices towards the Negroes. The fact that he wrote his whole adventure as a journal clearly shows his intentions. He went into the world of the second class Negro, wrote a straight out account of every event that happened by writing a journal. Then the reader saw what his experience was like and believed it more so since it was in a journal setup instead of a story setup.

The entire approach of Griffin’s research was ingenious, very creative, and even a bit daring. Not many people would like to experience that drastic change of lifestyle.
However it was a very efficient way of discovering precisely what it was like to be a black man in the 1950’s.
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