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Free Study Guide-Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin-Free Booknotes
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NOVEMBER 25

Summary

In Montgomery, the capital of Alabama, the author encounters a new atmosphere, that is, a unique and determined spirit of passive resistance by the Negroes and also their unity of purpose. This is mainly because of the influence of the Martin Luther King Jr. This policy that the blacks have adopted totally stuns and paralyses the racist whites. The Negroes do not react to anything and therefore the whites no longer have the excuse to show their cruelty towards them. Had the Negroes reacted, the excuse that the whites would have for their cruel behavior would have been self-defense.

Notes

The author encounters a different kind of Negro and Negro spirit in Montgomery. The author dramatically describes how, in Montgomery, the Negro’s feeling of utter hopelessness is replaced by a determined spirit of passive resistance. Here, the Negro has committed himself to a definite stand. It is because of this attitude that, the white racist is bewildered and angered, as the dignity of the Negro actions exposes his own indignity. Therefore they try to provoke the Negro to physical conflict. Then he will have the excuse to repress the Negro violently. However, most often he fails and the Negro triumphs - a tribute to Negro fortitude and courage.


Both the Negroes and the whites face their respective dilemmas. The Negroes fear that one of their own might commit an act of violence that would jeopardize their position and justify the whites declaring that they were too dangerous to be given equal rights. And secondly they dread the painful taunting of irresponsible white men, the jailing and the frame-ups. On the other hand the whites are also haunted by two deep fears -- intermixing between both races and most of all losing their centuries old mastery over their Negro slaves.

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