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

Book – Non-fiction. By Danielle L. McGuire. 2010. 352 pages.
History of the violence against African-American women during the 20th century and the role played by Rosa Parks in the organized legal response to that abuse.

  • Time Periods: Prosperity, Depression, & World War II: 1920 - 1944, Cold War: 1945 - 1960, People’s Movement: 1961 - 1974, 20th Century | Themes: Civil Rights Movements, Racism & Racial Identity, Women's History | Reading Levels: Adult | Resource Types: Books: Non-Fiction

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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 1944 of a twenty-four-year-old mother and sharecropper, Recy Taylor, who strolled toward home after an evening of singing and praying at the Rock Hill Holiness Church in Abbeville, Alabama. Seven white men, armed with knives and shotguns, ordered the young woman into their green Chevrolet, raped her, and left her for dead. The president of the local NAACP branch office sent his best investigator and organizer to Abbeville. Her name was Rosa Parks.  [Publisher's description.]

““For decades,” McGuire writes, “the Montgomery bus boycott has been told as a story triggered by Rosa Parks’s spontaneous refusal to give up her seat followed by the triumphant leadership of men.” McGuire, assistant professor of history at Wayne State University, goes behind that story to tell of black women’s struggles against abuse by white bus drivers and police officers that launched the boycott. She foregrounds black women’s experiences of “verbal, physical, and sexual abuse” as prime movers of the grassroots movement. From the rape of Recy Taylor (1944) to the rape of Joan Little (1975), McGuire restores to memory the courageous black women who dared seek legal remedy, when black women and their families faced particular hazards for doing so. McGuire brings the reader through a dark time via a painful but somehow gratifying passage in this compelling, carefully documented work.” —Publisher’s Weekly

ISBN: 9780307389244 | Published by Knopf |More information.

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