UTSA hosts Nov. 17 screening of documentary on 'Black Like Me' author

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(Nov. 16, 2011) -- The UTSA Department of History will host a screening and discussion of the new documentary, "Uncommon Vision: The Life and Times of John Howard Griffin," from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 17 in the Frio Street Building Riklin Auditorium (1.406) at the UTSA Downtown Campus. A white journalist, Griffin wrote the well-known 1961 book, "Black Like Me." The event is free and open to the public.

Griffin published "Black Like Me" after a six-week journey through the segregated South. Using medication to darken his skin in order to appear to be African American, he traveled on buses and hitchhiked, keeping a journal of the experiences and challenges of someone who at least looked black. The 188-page diary appeared in a series of articles in the late '50s and was expanded into the 1961 book.

Hosted by writer Robert Bonazzi, Griffin's literary executor, the UTSA discussion will outline Griffin's work and the consequences for a white journalist from Fort Worth, Texas, speaking out against racism. Copies of "Black Like Me" in the definitive Griffin estate edition with foreword by Studs Terkel and historic photos by Don Rutledge will be available from San Antonio's Wings Press.

Bonazzi is the author of the biography, "Man in the Mirror," the only book on John Howard Griffin (1920-1980). As literary executor for the Griffin estate, Bonazzi has edited and written introductions or after-words for Griffin's books "Black Like Me" and "Scattered Shadows: A Memoir of Blindness and Vision."

Bonazzi has written three books of poetry. His essays, stories and poems have appeared in 200 publications including 22 anthologies in France, Germany, the UK, Japan, Canada, Peru, Mexico and the United States. Born in New York City, he has lived in Mexico City and San Francisco. Presently, Bonazzi lives in San Antonio and writes a column on poetry for the San Antonio Express-News.

For more information, contact the UTSA Department of History at 210-458-5716.