Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “At the Dark End of the Street: Black Women, Rape, and Resistance--A New History of the Civil Rights Movement from Rosa Parks to the Rise of Black Power” as Want to Read:
At the Dark End of the Street: Black Women, Rape, and Resistance--A New History of the Civil Rights Movement from Rosa Parks to the Rise of Black Power
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

At the Dark End of the Street: Black Women, Rape, and Resistance--A New History of the Civil Rights Movement from Rosa Parks to the Rise of Black Power

4.35 of 5 stars 4.35  ·  rating details  ·  956 ratings  ·  100 reviews
Rosa Parks was often described as a sweet and reticent elderly woman whose tired feet caused her to defy segregation on Montgomery’s city buses, and whose supposedly solitary, spontaneous act sparked the 1955 bus boycott that gave birth to the civil rights movement.

The truth of who Rosa Parks was and what really lay beneath the 1955 boycott is far different from anything
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published September 7th 2010 by Knopf (first published January 1st 2010)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about At the Dark End of the Street, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about At the Dark End of the Street

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
This is a very important book. It is also an extremely depressing and upsetting book, but they go hand in hand, right? In reexamining the civil rights movement through the lens of sexual abuse of black women by white men in the South, McGuire challenges the prevailing wisdom of a number of commonly accepted historical narratives: the growth of the CRM at large and especially Rosa Parks's role, the gendered violence of the white backlash, and the courageous resistance of black women in the Jim Cr ...more
Feb 18, 2011 Katrina rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Adults Interested in the Civil Rights Movement or History
Recommended to Katrina by: 2010 Literacy Award Committee
Shelves: adult, non-fiction
Did you know that in her early forties when she refused to give up her seat? Did you know that she was the local NAACP best investigator? Did you know that she was the driving force behind numerous sexual abuse cases throughout the south BEFORE the 1955 bus boycotts even began? In taking on these cases, Parks launched a movement that ultimately changed the world.

In this book, McGuire challenges the prevailing wisdom of a number of commonly accepted historical narratives: especially Rosa Parks's
Imagine being a woman. A woman with 23 children. Now imagine that 20 of those children are the result of being raped. Imagine that your daughter is so fearful of being attacked, too, that she routinely carries a pistol with her when she works outside. Imagine further that her daughter, your granddaughter, is arrested, beaten bloody and naked by law enforcement for peaceably protesting that culture of violence. Such has been the life of the Southern black women, and this book does a remarkable jo ...more
Apr 25, 2013 Shauna is currently reading it
The subtitle should be noted: "Black Women, Rape, and Resistance--A New History of the Civil Rights Movement from Rosa Parks to the Rise of Black Power"

I'm only about 20 pages in, but so far the stories being told are devastating and, frankly, rage inducing. It's interesting seeing a focus on women in teh civil rights movement, and also cool learning the real back story of Rosa Parks. She wasn't just some woman who refused to give up her seat on the bus because she was tired, as they teach you i
Margaret Sankey
The image of Rosa Parks as a sweet, quietly heroic elderly seamstress does her a great disservice. In the 1940s, she was the NAACP's best investigator in cases of African-American women raped by white men as part of their campaign of terror, as crucial to controlling the local population as cross burning and arson. This woman was not a patient saint but a vital hellraiser whose work was subsumed in the larger political decision to highlight civil rights crimes against men.
A brilliant and distressing book, and a needed one - a must-read for anyone interested in human rights, women's history, race, and justice. One knows going in that there's likely little of the latter to be found, but story after story still evokes anger and shock.

McGuire does a wonderful job of fleshing out the stories of well-known but misrepresented activists like Rosa Parks, often remembered as the weary woman too tired to give up her seat on a bus - an almost accidental symbol - rather than
This is the best book I've read all year.

The civil rights movement is often told with a few main characters, these characters are always men and even their stories have been whitewashed to fit a narrative that seeks to erase a history that still cuts deep into the current American psyche. In this book McGuire highlights, magnificently, the abuse, violence and humiliation that black women had to suffer at the hands of white men in the southern states of America but also details how it was these
This the most important book on Civil rights history I have read in a long time. Danielle McGuire presents a revised history of the CR movement, placing African American women at the center of the story. Rosa Parks i re-presented as a courageous activist, who 10 years before the Montgomery (AL) bus boycott for which she became famous was doing investigative work for the NAACP of the brutal rape of Recy Taylor by four white men. McGuire's re-telling highlights the consistent sexual assault and ra ...more
In her book, At the Dark End of the Street; Black Women, Rape, and Resistance—a New History of the Civil Rights Movement from Rosa Parks to the Rise of Black Power, Danielle L. McGuire re-tells the history of the Civil Rights Movement with a focus on the role of gender. Realizing the popularity of the male-centered canonical versions of African-American’s struggles which mainly focus on the struggle between black and white men (as in males), McGuire highlights the role of rape and sexual violenc ...more
One of the books I'm most glad to have found this year. This book was extremely difficult to read in parts; it needs a strong trigger warning for graphic discussion of rape and the way it was an explicit tool of the anti-rights white South in the 1960s and 1970s. It deserves five stars and more for that discussion, and for the way it uncovers and retells this story, and for the way it reclaims Rosa Parks' activist history from the specter of the mild, tired lady with sore feet whom we're told ab ...more
Very informative. It makes me remember that history is usually decided and remembered from the point of view of its authors, not necessarily based in fact. It was wonderful to get some factual and historical confirmantion on the important and leading role black woman played before and during the civil rights movement and how black woman lead the activism against sexual assault decades before white women. I think this a must read for everyone, but especially black women interested a historical pe ...more
Essential reading. Should be required in all high schools. Intensely, compulsively readable from start to finish. Dedicated to the brave, formidable and powerfully vulnerable black women who shared (and continue to share) their stories of near-constant sexual abuse and white supremacist violence, and whose legacies should be more widely known, venerated and studied. It is a disservice to truth and justice that their histories are not universally acknowledged.
from book copy:

"Rosa Parks was often described as a sweet and reticent elderly woman whose tired feet caused her to defy segregation on Montgomery’s city buses, and whose supposedly solitary, spontaneous act sparked the 1955 bus boycott that gave birth to the civil rights movement.

The truth of who Rosa Parks was and what really lay beneath the 1955 boycott is far different from anything previously written.

In this groundbreaking and important book, Danielle McGuire writes about the rape in 194
Andi Marquette
One of the things that many people don't realize is that Rosa Parks was a trained civil rights activist and social justice advocate. She didn't just decide one day not to move to the back of the bus because she was tired or her feet hurt or whatever. She knew damn well what she was doing, and she also knew that a woman of her background--upstanding citizen, from a good family, good reputation--meant that when she was arrested, her case had a better shot at helping reveal the terrible unfairness ...more
A different perspective on the Civil Rights Movement as McGuire focuses on many of the better-known incidents and leaders of the South from the 1940s to the 1970s (Rosa Parks, Little Rock Nine, Emmett Till, Freedom Summer, problems in Birmingham and Selma, etc.) and many of the lesser-known from the general perspective that the issue never really focused on was the sexual aggression against black women.

The book has some individuals whose stories need to be told, but I couldn't help feeling that
Jan 07, 2013 Erin rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2011
According to the purchase receipt tucked into the epilogue, I have been reading this book for a little over six months. It’s not a long book, and it’s incredibly readable, but it is rough going. I do not mean to emphasize my own naivete about this time in America, but in a sense that is exactly what I intend - the fact that these things happened while my mother was alive is never not overwhelming to me, which speaks mainly to the deplorable way our country treated half its citizens and the effec ...more
丽芳 温
An untold history with a gender perspective in the USA. Ranging from 1930s to 1960s, this book shows a Black women's history and Black women's movement (well before the Women's movement) by using court cases to present victims of rape and sexual assault. It offers a lens that is different from the traditional history, which of course silent so many other voices, and unveils the interlocking relationship of race, gender and politics.
For real, this book is different because it is not scared to te
When I was taught about Rosa Parks and her contribution to the Montgomery bus boycott, I was taught that Parks was a quiet old women who just did not want to give up her seat. This book has taught me that the truth is much more complicated, and much more interesting. Rosa Parks was not some quiet old women, she had long been an activist in the civil rights movement. In particular, she went all over Alabama and documented the rapes, and assaults of white men on black women. This was one thing tha ...more
Will Corvin
An incredibly illuminating book on some of the most overlooked heroes of the civil rights movement - black women and anti-rape activists. McGuire does a superb job of intertwining racial prejudices, gender roles, and nationwide movements to help the reader realize the immense challenges that black women had to overcome to finally earn government protection over their sexuality.
This history of the role of rape and female testimony about it in the civil rights movement is really interesting, as far as it goes, and impeccably researched. That said, it's more anecdotal and must less assertive than I expected (and hoped). Rather than focusing on the big issue of the treatment of black women in America, particularly the south, McGuire limits herself to specific incidents during a fairly narrow period of time. While her approach is quite reasonable, I think in some ways that ...more
This was one of the very first books I picked up in order to learn about the "Black Experience", did this send me on a quest! Highly recommend.
Sandi Larson
This book is bringing to light a part of history that had a major affect on the Civil Rights movement and it is difficult but fascinating reading. It is hard to comprehend the injustices (and that word seems way too tame) the women faced not that long ago in the grand scheme of things. Despite the importance of this piece of literary work, I could only give it 3 star because I felt the author made assumptions that may or may not be fact, and even dismissed some historical "facts" and introduced ...more
A valuable if narrowly-focused read. This is an excellent history of how the civil rights movement sparked from outrage of sexual violence perpetrated by whites against African-American women in the South. It chronicles the tireless efforts of thousands of Black women in the South to raise awareness of the sexual violence and harrassment they faced on a daily basis, bring their attackers to court, and lay the foundations of the mass organizations that toppled Jim Crow. For its diligent efforts t ...more
A major contribution to setting the record straight about the late Mrs. Rosa McCauley Parks and now 93 year old sexual assault survivor Mrs. RECY TAYLOR; telling the truth - in published form - about Black women's lives and about our leadership, both private & public, here in the United States, in the European slaveholding, Black-baby-breeding & -selling colonies which preceded the USA, and Black women's and girls' lives throughout the Americas.
Shonda Wilson
This book looks at the Civil Rights movement from a different perspective and it focuses on how African American women played an important role in the struggle. In addition, the book also looks at sexual assault and its relationship to civil rights from two directions...
The book is detailed and uses a lot of court cases to illustrate its point, very well researched.
This is an academic book, but very readable. It's truly brilliant and ground breaking. She retells the history of the civil rights movement with sexual violence against Black women at the center. It turns out there is a lot of untold history of activism against the rape of Black women, and it makes the entire rest of the history of civil rights activism look different.
This is a very important book for everyone to read. McGuire is one of the first people to examine the real origins of the civil rights movement and how women took a powerful and brave position during it.
This redefines the history of the Civil Rights Movement for me. Accessible, well written and informative, if depressing. McGuire places Rosa Parks and many other Black women at the center of the Civil Rights Movement, where they always were.

Connecting sexual violence to the very structure and nature of white supremacy as she has adds nuance to the resistance to Civil Rights in the South, and adds complexity to how black women suffered especially under white supremacy. There are few heroes here,
Sep 28, 2010 Dan marked it as to-read
This looks fantastic.
I really wish I could give this book five stars, but I can't justify that last star. The problem is that the book lacks flow, and the conclusion lacks a certain polish that I expect from a book.

However, despite that, this book is well worth reading. Roughly a third of it is notes and references, so it's really a three hundred page book, relayed in episodic chapters that discussion a different way that rape influenced the civil rights movement. And let's be very honest; the vast majority of peopl
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Freedom's Daughters: The Unsung Heroines of the Civil Rights Movement from 1830 to 1970
  • I've Got the Light of Freedom: The Organizing Tradition and the Mississippi Freedom Struggle
  • Too Heavy a Load: Black Women in Defense of Themselves, 1894-1994
  • At the Hands of Persons Unknown: The Lynching of Black America
  • Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement: A Radical Democratic Vision
  • Gender and Jim Crow: Women and the Politics of White Supremacy in North Carolina, 1896-1920
  • Radio Free Dixie: Robert F. Williams and the Roots of Black Power
  • Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America
  • The Black History of the White House
  • Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty
  • To 'Joy My Freedom: Southern Black Women's Lives and Labors After the Civil War
  • What Comes Naturally: Miscegenation Law and the Making of Race in America
  • Ida: A Sword among Lions: Ida B. Wells and the Campaign against Lynching
  • Hands on the Freedom Plow: Personal Accounts by Women in SNCC
  • Sisters in the Struggle: African American Women in the Civil Rights-Black Power Movement
  • Sweet Land of Liberty: The Forgotten Struggle for Civil Rights in the North
  • The Assassination of Fred Hampton: How the FBI and the Chicago Police Murdered a Black Panther
  • Southern Horrors and Other Writings: The Anti-Lynching Campaign of Ida B. Wells, 1892-1900
Danielle McGuire is a writer and historian who is interested in the African American freedom struggle. She teaches history at Wayne State University in Detroit. She lives with her husband and two children.
More about Danielle L. McGuire...
Freedom Rights: New Perspectives on the Civil Rights Movement Other Souths: Diversity and Difference in the U.S. South, Reconstruction to Present

Share This Book

“Judge Carter sat in stony silence, completely unmoved. At the end of the trial, he pronounced King guilty of conspiracy to violate the 1921 law and ordered him to pay a five-hundred-dollar fine or serve a year at hard labor. Like Judge Carter, the national newspaper and magazine reporters waiting outside for the ruling ignored the black women's testimonies that detailed decades of mistreatment and denied King's leadership in the boycott. Instead, the media turned King into an apostle of civil rights.” 1 likes
“is senseless to fight fascism abroad if fascistic influences are to be protected here at home.” 0 likes
More quotes…