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Book Talk: Favorites from the past, part IV

Over the past three years, with few exceptions, I’ve reviewed novels, particularly mysteries. However, in looking back at books that had a significant effect on me, I cannot ignore John Howard Griffin’s “Black Like Me.” Griffin was a white man who took medications and sun-lamp treatments to turn his skin dark brown.

Having fooled a friend into thinking that he was African American, he undertook the “Journey into Shame” through the Deep South in 1959. His book is a non-fiction account of the prejudice and discrimination that he encountered five years after the Brown v. Board of Education decision that desegregated schools and during the year that the Supreme Court ordered southern districts to desegregate “with all deliberate speed.”

To Kill a Mockingbird

Told from the POV of six-year-old Scout, the book begins with a plan for her, her brother Jem, and their friend Dill to make Boo Radley, a reclusive neighbor, come out. But, that’s like an anecdote buried within a much broader story that involves her father, Atticus, who is a lawyer appointed by a judge to defend Tom Robinson. Robinson is a black man in Maycomb County, Alabama, during The Great Depression, who has been accused of raping a white woman.



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