Black Like Me


John Howard Griffin

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A young black man who was accused of raping a pregnant white woman and subsequently thrown in jail in Mississippi to await trial. However, a band of angry white men kidnapped him before his trial and killed him. Despite the fact that some of the murderers confessed, the entire group of killers was released without an indictment by the Mississippi state jury. This event took place in 1959 and is what encourages Griffin to travel from New Orleans to Mississippi. Wanting to gain firsthand insight into what it’s like to exist as a black man in what people considered at the time to be the most racist state in the South, he takes a bus that passes through Poplarville, the town in which Mack Parker was killed.
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Mack Parker Character Timeline in Black Like Me

The timeline below shows where the character Mack Parker appears in Black Like Me. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
November 14-15, 1959
Unity, Division, and Communication Theme Icon
Implicit Bias and Systemic Racism Theme Icon
Fear and Violence Theme Icon
...decided not to indict a group of white men who kidnapped a young black man— Mack Parker —from his jail cell and lynched him. News of the failed indictment has now reached... (full context)
Implicit Bias and Systemic Racism Theme Icon
Fear and Violence Theme Icon
...the bus slides through Poplarville, where the jury failed to indict the men who killed Mack Parker , and a palpable tension settles over the black passengers. Pointing to the courthouse, Bill... (full context)