John Howard Griffin

John Howard Griffin (June 16, 1920 – September 9, 1980) was an American journalist and author, much of whose writing was about racial equality. He is best known for darkening his skin and journeying through Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia to experience segregation in the Deep South in 1959. He wrote about this experience in his 1961 book Black Like Me. Griffin was born in Dallas, Texas to John Walter Griffin and Lena May Young Griffin. His mother was a classical pianist, and Griffin acquired his love of music from her. Awarded a musical scholarship, he studied French and literature at the University of Poitiers and medicine at the École de Médecine. At 19, he worked as a medic in the French Resistance at the Atlantic seaport of Saint-Nazaire, where he helped smuggle Austrian Jews to safety and freedom. Griffin then served 39 months in the United States Army Air Corps, stationed in the South Pacific. He spent 1943-44 as the only Caucasian on Nuni, one of the Solomon Islands, where he was assigned to study the local culture; he even married an islander.

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