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Winner of the Frederick Jackson Turner Award
In a supposedly solitary, spontaneous act, Rosa Parks sparked the 1955 bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama, which gave birth to the civil rights movement. Parks is often described as an unassuming woman whose fatigue caused her to defy the Jim Crow laws. The truth of who she was and what really started the boycott is far different, and, until now, unwritten . . .
In this groundbreaking book, Danielle L. McGuire brilliantly reinterprets the history of America’s civil rights movement in terms of the ritualistic rape and sexualized violence that for almost three hundred years had been perpetrated against black women. She looks at the crucial role played by African American women, at people like Rosa Parks, already a seasoned anti-rape activist more than a decade before the bus boycott, who turned a one-day protest on the buses into a three-decade war against white supremacy that changed the world.
At the Dark End of the Street is a revelation—and certain to be one of the most talked about books of the year.
“At the Dark End of the Street is 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.
“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
“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.” —Publishers Weekly (starred)
“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