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Black Like Me (1964)

 |  Drama  |  20 May 1964 (USA)
6.8
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 400 users  
Reviews: 15 user | 10 critic

Based on the true story of a white reporter who, at the height of the civil-rights movement, temporarily darkened his skin so that he could experience the realities of a black man's life in the segregated South.

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Title: Black Like Me (1964)

Black Like Me (1964) on IMDb 6.8/10

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
John Finley Horton
...
...
Christopher
...
Thomas Newcomb
...
Robert Gerringer ...
Ed Saunders
...
Eli Carr
John Marriott ...
Hodges
Thelma Oliver ...
Georgie
Lenka Peterson ...
Lucy Horton (as Lenka Petersen)
P. Jay Sidney ...
Frank Newcomb (as P.J. Sidney)
Billie Allen ...
Vertell
Alan Bergmann ...
Charles Maynard
Stanley Brock ...
Salesman
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Storyline

Black Like Me is the true account of John Griffin's experiences when he passed as a black man. John Horton takes treatments to darken his skin and leaves his home in Texas to travel throughout the South. At one stop, Horton encounters a black shoe shine man, Burt Wilson, who befriends him and shows him how to "act right" so that he can fit more easily into the African American culture. It is through Wilson that Horton learns the art of shining shoes. Most of his encounters with whites are quite degrading and disturb him. As a hitchhiker, John meets several white men who refer to black men and women in disparaging ways which angers John. Throughout the movie, John is harassed and persecuted by whites without reason. In one of his many stops throughout the South, John finds himself on a park bench sitting by a white woman. A white man walks by and says, "You'd better find another place to sit." Even though he had a college degree, menial jobs were all that he could find. John meets ... Written by Broncine G. Carter

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

"I changed the color of my skin... now I know what it feels like to be BLACK!" See more »

Genres:

Drama

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Release Date:

20 May 1964 (USA)  »

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1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?

Connections

Referenced in Hearts Afire: Fat Like Me (1994) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Relevant.
8 April 2011 | by (usa) – See all my reviews

This is a good movie but the book is better. In the book the emotions unfold over a longer period of time which is more realistic. The premise of both (without spoilers): white journalist darkens skin in order to appear black and details his experiences as a black man in the south in a book. Therein lies the problem. Griffin's life as a white man is not erased by the darkening of his skin. For example, in both the book and the movie, Griffin looks for normalcy in activities that blacks during that time period were aware would result in hostility. Going into white neighborhoods attempting to get change in stores. Offensive conversations in cars with whites while hitch hiking, etc. To be clear, blacks were definitely angered by any indignities caused by these experiences. However many of the blacks during that time period never had the privileges that Griffin had had all of his life. My point is that Griffin's anger reaches a crescendo at a quick pace because of a life of white privilege suddenly hindered by dark skin. Blacks cared about daily indignities but always with a concern over the larger political and social institutions and structures that created them. The book and the movie are accurate in many ways, but they represent merely a snapshot of a much larger scheme.


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