Why did American journalist John Griffin pretend to be African American

In 1961, American journalist John Howard Griffin published the book "Black Like Me", in which he described his travel experiences in the southern states of America.

It would seem - what is so unusual about that?

Unusually, John wandered around Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia and Alabama for two months pretending to be a Negro. The result of Griffin's adventures was an 188-page diary that he kept on the trip.

At that time, the customs of racial segregation were still strong in the United States - black Americans sometimes had a difficult time, especially in the southern states. It was to such states that John went, after having given his skin a dark shade.

On the advice of a dermatologist friend, Griffin used large doses of special drugs (Methoxalen, Oxoralen) for a long time and spent 15 hours a day under an ultraviolet lamp. This allowed him to tan so much that outwardly he was no different from any representative of the Negroid race. Even his friends stopped recognizing him.

Traveling through the southern states, Griffin stumbled upon the malevolent glances of white Americans everywhere. Talking with his black "brothers", he learned a lot - for example, how difficult it is in Louisiana for a Negro to find a place to just wash.

The incident that happened to John on the bus was very revealing. When he wanted to make way for a white woman, he came across the condemning glances of black passengers. And the white woman herself took his act as insolence.

When Griffin's book was published, he became a real celebrity. In addition to the beams of fame, the journalist and his family began to receive many threats, which is why they were forced to leave their native Texas and move to Mexico. In 1964, a film of the same name was filmed based on John's book.

But the story didn't end there. Griffin made many enemies, including from the ranks of the puppet clan, and in 1974 he was severely beaten by unknown persons, but survived. Nevertheless, the journalist's health was badly damaged and in 1980 he died at the age of 60. It was rumored that the cause of death was skin cancer that began due to a long exposure to ultraviolet radiation during the "rebirth into a black", but they were later denied.