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... ave sex, if he had ever had sex with a white woman, if he had ever made this or that and so on. Most of them are looking at Negroes not as humans but as animals who have sex all the time. Only the last man who picks him up is not interested in the color of his skin or sex, he just wants to talk to be entertained, but JHG can not make out why. After spending three days in Mobile at the house of an old Negro, looking for a job and spending most of his time to get something to eat or to find a bathroom, JHG finds out that he would not have a chance to get a job here, either. On this cold day, JHG hitchhikes from Mobile to Montgomery.
After some miles of walking, a white man picks him up. After some small talk, the man starts to talk about sex. He gives work to black women, but he only pays them after having sex with him, and he tells that everybody would do this. Than he tells that one could kill a Negro and no one would ever know what happened to him. After JHG has to get off his truck because the man leaves the highway, he continues walking until he reaches a small service station where he buys some food.
He does not know where to sleep, but then he gets a ride from a friendly Negro who lets him stay at his house. The man has many children, and while laying on the floor, JHG thinks about how unfair it is to deny these children to go to a good school, to have fun and to have a good future. Later he has a nightmare in which he is being chased by white people with the hate-stare. By bus, he finally arrives in Montgomery, Alabama. The situation there becomes dangerous for him, the discrimination is extremely high, so he wants to pass back into white society. He does not take pills any more and rubs his skin, and in the middle of the night, when everyone in the hotel sleeps, he goes to the white sector.
The whole situation changes immediately. JHG is again a first-class citizen, with all the privileges like some weeks ago. The city looks different for him. Everybody smiles, he even talked to some white again. But when he goes back to the black sector, the Negroes looks say: "You white bastard, what are you doing walking these streets?" He develops a technique of zigzagging back and forth, from black to white, so he could always be the color he just wants to be. In the early afternoon, he takes the bus for Tuskegee as a black again, where he meets a strange drunk man who calls himself an observer.
But JHG does not want to drink with him, so the man is angry and says that he will write bad things about the Negroes in his observations. While his bus journey back to Mississippi, there is again trouble between the black and the white on the bus. After getting there he stays on night in the YMCA. The next day, the SEPIA magazine asks him to do more stories about Atlanta.
So he stays in a monastery the next night, on his way to Atlanta. In this place, there is no discrimination. In the morning, a young professor that he met in the monastery drives him to Atlanta. There he meets a photographer with which he makes a story on Atlanta's Negro business. In the following three days, he works hard. Together with the photographer he meets all the important black leaders in Atlanta, and he recognizes that Atlanta is the most encouraged city in the south in solving "the problem." After finishing his work, he goes to New Orleans to start another project with another photographer: He wants to go back to all the scenes were he has been and have photos made, what causes serious problems: A white photographer and a black man do not really fit together...
On December 14 th, everything was finished, and John Howard Griffin would never be a Negro again, he made his final change into white society. Flying home to Texas it is clear to him that after publishing the truth about the discrimination in the south, he would be the target of all hate groups. But for this moment, he is just happy to see his family again after 7 weeks. In January, Mr. Levitan, his friend from the SEPIA magazine calls and asked if he plans to publish his work, JHG wants to. Till end of February, the news becomes known.
He gets calls for interviews. After the story is published by the newspapers at the weekend, the TV brings it now. JHG gets long calls from his relatives and friends to block hate-calls against him. Whenever he goes into the public, people yell at him now. He continues giving interviews, some of them do not evade the issue at all. Meanwhile, JHG has a PR-manager, Benn Hall, who organizes the interviews for him.
JHG refuses to answer questions that offend him or make him trouble, but all the interviewers are fair with him and the interviews are good. The press from Europe gets interested in the story, a team of five French reporters visits JHG. In-between, the pressure on him gets bigger and bigger. He gets lots of letters, but only very few of them offend him. One morning, the phone rings and a reporter tells him that a dummy, half black and half white, had been hung on the Main Street. His parents move to Mexico because they are being harassed, and his children and his wife are being brought in safety to friends.
He gets more and more letters from Negroes from the south, he had "stirred things up." JHG got 6000 letters until this date, and only nine of them are abusive. Justice Bok sends him a copy of his speech at Radcliffe. A hate group wants to castrate him, but they do not try to do it. Together with a black boy that he hired, JHG cleans the house of his parents for the next owner.
He has a long conversation with this boy, which finishes the book. Bibliography:
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