Little Known Black History Fact: ‘Black Like Me’

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“Black Like Me” is a non-fiction book by white journalist John Howard Griffin first published in 1961. The title of the book is taken from the last line of the Langston Hughes poem “Dream Variations.”

The book describes Griffin’s six-week experience traveling on Greyhound buses throughout the racially segregated states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia passing as a black man in 1959.

Under the care of a doctor, John Griffin artificially darkened his skin to pass as a black man using large oral doses of the anti-vitiligo drug Oxsoralen and spent up to fifteen hours daily under an ultraviolet lamp. He changed the length of his hair and used makeup to fill in any unevenly toned areas.

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