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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  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,239 Ratings  ·  132 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, 324 pages
Published September 7th 2010 by Knopf (first published January 1st 2010)
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Nov 08, 2010 Zach rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 08, 2015 Larry rated it really liked it
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
Feb 18, 2011 Katrina rated it it was amazing
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
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
Mar 16, 2015 Margaret Sankey rated it really liked it
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.
Apr 29, 2014 Carrie rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 14, 2014 Quaam rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
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
Feb 18, 2011 Drick rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 20, 2012 Carly rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 20, 2011 Emily rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011, non-fiction
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
Oct 13, 2011 Kimberly rated it really liked it
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
Oct 15, 2011 Andi Marquette rated it really liked it
Shelves: history-stuff
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
Feb 18, 2011 Craig rated it liked it
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 it was amazing
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
Mar 06, 2013 丽芳 温 rated it really liked it
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
Nov 24, 2012 Chris rated it really liked it
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
Jul 03, 2015 Will Corvin rated it it was amazing
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.
Jun 15, 2015 Martha rated it liked it
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
Nov 30, 2014 Patty rated it really liked it
Shelves: black-history
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.
Lord Beardsley
Mar 15, 2016 Lord Beardsley rated it it was amazing
Shelves: feminism, read2016
One of the most profoundly haunting books I've ever read about the Civil Rights Movement, more specifically about how the fight for women's rights and the acknowledgement of black women's humanity was and IS at the heart of this struggle.

Feb 22, 2016 Barbara rated it really liked it
This is a really important new history of the civil rights movement. It ties the work of African American women speaking out against rape, forming organizations and coalitions to do so, with so much that came later. The women were champing at the bit to boycott the buses in Montgomery, long before Rosa Parks sat down. You see the male clergy as Johnie-come-latelies who grabbbed a lot of the spotlight, but it was clearly the women who provided the energy for the boycott and the many police confro ...more
Jan 11, 2016 Kathy rated it liked it
Unsubstantiated rumors of black men attacking innocent white women sparked almost 50 percent of all race riots I the United States between Reconstruction and World War II.

The protection of the dignity of black women’s bodies, begun in a long twilight struggle in causes like the Abbeville crusade, would alter the arc of human history, making the word Montgomery an enduring metaphor for the power of nonviolent direct action.

Demagoguery of “miscegenation” fanned followers’ fears to red-hot
Sep 27, 2015 Shanice rated it really liked it
Amazing, heartbreaking, and infuriating. This book tells a part of the Civil Rights Movement that's been swept under the rug. Women were the backbone of this movement and were often paid for their involvement with sexual violence. A Black woman, Jo Ann Robinson, created the Montgomery Bus Boycott and largely facilitated it. Most people don't know this because the men of the movement were given the credit.This book honors women, like Jo Ann and others, that we have forgotten. McGuire places the C ...more
Sandi Larson
Nov 12, 2014 Sandi Larson rated it liked it
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
Jul 31, 2015 Nikhil rated it really liked it
Shelves: af-am, history, american
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
May 25, 2011 Marian rated it it was amazing
Shelves: check-this-out
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.
Dec 30, 2015 Veleda rated it really liked it
Highly recommended. At the Dark End of the Street, tells a familiar story in a new way, and gives voice to some of women who made the Civil Rights movement possible. I felt like the ending tried to tie things up a little too neatly, the way books on the Civil Rights movement often do. Sexual violence and the intersection of racism and sexism remain very real. But that's a minor issue.
Julieann Wielga
Dec 27, 2015 Julieann Wielga rated it it was amazing
Danielle L. McGuire is white. She is an assistant professor of Hisory at Wayne University in Detroit.
In Dark End of the Street, she writes about things that I do not want to read about.

In Albama of 1943, Recy Taylor, a 24 year old black mom, was raped by 6 white young men.
There was no indictment from the Grand Jury.

In 1959, 4 white college students raped Betty Jean Owens balck woman. If the men would have been white, the sentences would have mostly likely been death, but it was its own victor
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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...

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“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
“Often ignored by civil rights historians, a number of campaigns led to trials and even convictions throughout the South. These cases, many virtually unknown, broke with Southern tradition and fractured the philosophical and political foundations of white supremacy by challenging the relationship between sexual domination and racial equality.” 0 likes
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