What book made you grow? Heather Saunders

What book made you grow? Heather Saunders

October 1, 2021

What book made you grow?

Heather Saunders

Dean of Libraries and Archives, Acadia University

Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin

My paperback copy of Black Like Me is the most weathered of my books from multiple reads. John Howard Griffin’s autobiographical account of a radical social experiment shook me to the core as a teenager, prompting ongoing self-critique eventually laid bare for the public in writing. Griffin describes the experience of travelling through the Deep South in the United States in 1959 and being subjected to racism in myriad forms after having his skin darkened temporarily. Decades before implicit bias was coined, the journalist’s exposé in a series of articles published by his sponsor, Black-owned Sepia Magazine, and the book that followed, underscored the ubiquity of racism. Unquestionably, anti-racism work must centre POC voices, especially from Black communities because of reasons like disproportionate suffering. As a supplement, despite problematic elements—like the first edition cover describing the author as becoming a Negro—I recommend this book.

Borrow Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin from the Acadia Library

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