Black Like Me Literature Discussion Notes Page of




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Black Like Me Literature Discussion Notes Page of



March 9th:  Black Like Me and Under the Overpass

Quote to think about:

"We hear a Christian assure someone that he will 'pray over' his problem, knowing full well

that he intends to use prayer as a substitute for service. It is much easier to pray that a

poor friend's needs may be supplied than to supply them. James' words burn with irony:

Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him,

"Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs,

what good is it? (2:15-16) "   A. W. Tozer, Of God and Men
Regarding Black Like Me

Griffin writes of the small but humiliating obstacles in everyday life. For example, he spends much of his time looking for "a place to eat, or somewhere to find a drink of water, a restroom, somewhere to wash my hands." (99) At a rest stop in Mississippi, the white bus driver doesn't allow the black passengers to get off to use the restroom. Griffin writes: "I sat in the monochrome gloom of dusk, scarcely believing that in this year of freedom, any man could deprive another of anything so basic as the need to quench thirst or use the rest room." (63)


Griffin is also honest about the hypocrisy of some of those who attend church. In Montgomery, Alabama, he experiments by dressing up and walking past churches as white people file out of Sunday morning services. There, he is met by hostile stares. (120)
The title for the book comes from a poem by Langston Hughes. Hughes finds validation in nature, which favors no skin color. Darkness, a time of safety for the African American, as well as validation by both nature and God:  " Most of the whites were in their homes. The threat was less.... At such a time, the Negro can look at the starlit skies and find that he has, after all, a place in the universal order of things. The stars, the black skies affirm his humanity, his validity as a human being. He knows that his belly, his lungs, his tired legs, his appetites, his prayers, and his mind are cherished in some profound involvement with nature and God. The night is his consolation. It does not despise him. (118)
Under the Overpass Website  Homelessness Statistics               Rescue Mission Site
Jim Crow Laws by states (segregation laws)                   Origin of Jim Crow

Black Like Me Essay on the Jim Crow Law History Site                Spark Notes Study Guide


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