Store in Literature
In Black Like Me, John Howard
Griffin, originally white, describes what he experienced in his travels
through the south in 1959 after he dyed his skin black. One Saturday he
needed to cash travelers checks, but the banks were closed; so he asked
stores to cash them or at least let him buy something. He writes,
"They would have cashed a traveler's check without hesitation for a white
man. Each time they refused me, they implied clearly that I had probably
come by these checks dishonestly, and they wanted nothing to do with them
"Finally, after I gave up hope and decided I must remain in New Orleans
without funds until the banks opened on Monday, I walked toward town.
Small gold-lettering on the window of a store caught my attention:
CATHOLIC BOOK STORE. Knowing the Catholic stand on racism, I wondered if
this shop might cash a Negro's check. With some hesitation, I opened the
door and entered. I was prepared to be disappointed.
"'Would you cash a twenty-dollar traveler's check for me?' I asked the
"'Of course,' she said without hesitation, as though nothing could be more
natural. She did not even study me.
"I was so grateful I bought a number of paperback books--works of Maritain,
Aquinas and Christopher Dawson."
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