188-page diary was the genesis black like me pdf the book. When he started his project in 1959, race relations in America were particularly strained. When he could pass as an African American, Griffin began a six-week journey in the South. Don Rutledge traveled with him, documenting the experience with photos.
He became accustomed everywhere to the “hate stare” received from whites. After he disguised himself, many people who knew Griffin as a white man did not recognize him. Griffin regarded as a casual friend, did not recognize him. Because Griffin wanted assistance in entering into the black community, he decided to tell Sterling about his identity and project. Sterling still did not recognize him until Griffin told him. In New Orleans, a black counterman at a small restaurant chatted with Griffin about the difficulties of finding a place to go to the bathroom, as facilities were segregated and blacks were prohibited from many. He turned a question about a Catholic church into a joke about “spending much of your time praying for a place to piss”.
On a bus trip, Griffin began to give his seat to a white woman, but disapproving looks from black passengers stopped him. He thought he had a momentary breakthrough with the woman, but she insulted him and began talking with other white passengers about how impudent the blacks were becoming. After his book was published, Griffin received many letters of support. He said they helped him understand the experience. Griffin became a national celebrity for a time.