In 1959, Texas journalist John Howard Griffin darkened his skin and lived for six weeks as a black man in the segregated South. In this week’s episode of the Futility Closet podcast we’ll describe his harrowing experience and what it taught him about the true state of race relations in America.
We’ll also ponder crescent moons, German submarines, and griffins in India and puzzle over why a man would be arrested for winning a prize at a county fair.
Sources for our feature on John Howard Griffin:
John Howard Griffin, Black Like Me, 1961.
Robert Bonazzi, Man in the Mirror: John Howard Griffin and the Story of Black Like Me, 2010.
Maurice Dolbier, “Blinding Disguise in South,” Miami News, Oct. 15, 1961.
Jerome Weeks, “‘Black Like Me’ Just One of Many Roles for John Howard Griffin,” Dallas Morning News, Sept. 19, 1997.
H.W. Quick, “He Finds Bias Blighting North, South,” Milwaukee Sentinel, Jan. 16, 1964.
Karen De Witt, “Oppressor Shown What Being Oppressed Is Like,” Ottawa Citizen, Nov. 1, 1977.
Ray Sprigle, In the Land of Jim Crow, 1949.
Lucile Torkelson, “Writer Crosses the Race Barrier,” Milwaukee Sentinel, Oct. 29, 1969.
Here’s the image of the star and crescent:
And here are the sources I’ve found that describe the German submarine rescue:
Wolfgang Frank, The Sea Wolves, 1955.
Arch Whitehouse, Subs and Submariners, 1961.
Jacques Yves Cousteau, Captain Cousteau’s Underwater Treasury, 1959.
This week’s lateral thinking puzzle was contributed by listener Lawrence Miller.
Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet — on our Patreon page you can pledge any amount per episode, and all contributions are greatly appreciated. You can change or cancel your pledge at any time, and we’ve set up some rewards to help thank you for your support.
You can also make a one-time donation via the Donate button in the sidebar of the Futility Closet website.
Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode.
If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at email@example.com. Thanks for listening!