In 1959, a thirty-nine-year-old white Texan who was a Catholic convert contrived to masquerade as a black man by ingesting chemicals and using infrared lamps to disguise his race. He traveled the South for six weeks, keeping a journal of his encounters and travails as a “negro.” The book John Howard Griffin wrote from this experience, Black Like Me, was an explosive bestseller in 1961, and, as a staple of high-school civics classes, has...
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