John Howard Griffin was an American journalist and author from Texas who wrote about racial equality. He is best known for his project to temporarily pass as a black man and journey through the Deep South of 1959 to see life and segregation from the other side of the color line. He first published a series of articles on his experience in Sepia Magazine, which had underwritten the project. He published a fuller account in a book Black Like Me. This was later adapted as a 1964 film of the same name. A 50th anniversary edition of the book was published in 2011 by Wings Press.
|Born:||June 16, 1920, Dallas, Texas, U.S.|
|Died:||September 09, 1980, Fort Worth, Texas, U.S.|
|Education:||University of Poitiers|
|Notable credit(s):||Black Like Me|
About John Howard Griffin
Texas-born author and journalist of racial justice-themed works. He is best remembered for Black Like Me, a 1960 memoir of his year of posing as an African American man in the American South.
After studying French at the University of Poitiers and medicine at the French Ecole de Medecine, he served in the Pacific theater of World War II as a member of the United States Army Air Corps.
His early literary works, published in the 1950s, include The Devil Rides Outside, Land of the High Sky, and Nuni.
He was raised in Dallas, Texas by John Griffin and pianist Lena Griffin. His marriage to Elizabeth Ann Holland produced four children and lasted from 1953 until his death in 1980.
Actor James Whitmore starred in the 1964 film version of Griffin’s memoir, Black Like Me.
Information related to John Howard Griffin
- Ray Sprigle , a white journalist, disguised himself as black and travelled in the Deep South with John Wesley Dobbs , a guide from the NAACP . Sprigle wrote a series of articles under the title I Was a Negro in the South for 30 Days. The articles formed the basis of Sprigle’s 1949 book In the Land of Jim Crow .
- Grace Halsell , a white female journalist, also Texan, who, inspired by Griffin, disguised herself as black in a similar manner. Shortly after the 1968 assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. , she left her position on President Lyndon B. Johnson’s White House staff for the journey she described as embracing the Other. She published her account the next year as Soul Sister: The Story of a White Woman Who Turned Herself Black and Went to Live and Work in Harlem and Mississippi. She undertook many similar immersive disguises throughout her career.
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- American social sciences writers
- Roman Catholic activists
- United States Army Air Forces soldiers
- Converts to Roman Catholicism
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