Long before Rosa Parks became famous for resisting Jim Crow laws, she was engaged in advocating for social justice for black women who were the victims of sexual violence at the hands of white men. Historian McGuire aims to rewrite the history of the civil rights movement by highlighting sexual violence in the broader context of racial injustice and the fight for freedom. Parks worked as an investigator for the NAACP branch office in Montgomery, Alabama, specializing in cases involving black women who had been sexually assaulted by white men––cases that often went untried and were the political opposite of the allegations of black men raping white women ending in summary lynching with or without trials. McGuire traces the history of several rape cases that triggered vehement resistance by the NAACP and other groups, including the 1975 trial of Joan Little, who killed a white jailer who sexually assaulted her. Despite the long tradition of dismissing charges brought by blacks against whites, several of the cases ended in convictions, as black women asserted their right to be treated justly. --Vanessa Bush
--This text refers to the
"Groundbreaking . . . inspiring."
—Bliss Broyard, ELLE
"One one of those rare studies that makes a well-known story seem startlingly new. Anyone who thinks he knows the history of the modern civil rights movement needs to read this terrifying, illuminating book."
—Kevin Boyle, author of Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights and Murder in the Jazz Age,
winner of the National Book Award.
"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."
"This gripping story changes the history books, giving us a revised Rosa Parks and a new civil rights story. You can’t write a general U.S. history without altering crucial sentences because of McGuire’s work. Masterfully narrated, At the Dark End of the Street
presents a deep civil rights movement with women at the center, a narrative as poignant, painful and complicated as our own lives."
—Timothy B. Tyson, author of Blood Done Sign My Name: A True Story
"Just when we thought there couldn’t possibly be anything left to uncover about the civil rights movement, Danielle McGuire finds a new facet of that endlessly prismatic struggle at the core of our national identity. By reinterpreting black liberation through the lens of organized resistance to white male sexual aggression against African-American women, McGuire ingeniously upends the white race’s ultimate rationale for its violent subjugation of blacks—imputed black male sexual aggression against white women. It is an original premise, and At the Dark End of the Street
delivers on it with scholarly authority and narrative polish."
—Diane McWhorter, author of Carry Me Home: Birmingham, Alabama, the Climactic Battle of the Civil Rights Revolution
"Following the lead of pioneers like Darlene Clark Hine, Danielle McGuire details the all too ignored tactic of rape of black women in the everyday practice of southern white supremacy. Just as important, she plots resistance against this outrage as an integral facet of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s. This book is as essential as its history is infuriating."
—Nell Irvin Painter, author of The History of White People
From the Hardcover edition.