About the Book  (Published by Knopf)

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. In taking on this case, Parks launched a movement that ultimately changed the world.

The author gives us the never-before-told history of how the civil rights movement began; how it was in part started in protest against the ritualistic rape of black women by white men who used economic intimidation, sexual violence, and terror to derail the freedom movement; and how those forces persisted unpunished throughout the Jim Crow era when white men assaulted black women to enforce rules of racial and economic hierarchy. Black women’s protests against sexual assault and interracial rape fueled civil rights campaigns throughout the South that began during World War II and went through to the Black Power movement. The Montgomery bus boycott was the baptism, not the birth, of that struggle.

(read more)
divider_lines

About the Author

Danielle McGuire is an award-winning author and Assistant Professor at Wayne State University. At the Dark End of the Street won the 2011 Frederick Jackson Turner Award from the Organization of American Historians and the 2011 Lillian Smith Book Award.  McGuire is a Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians and has appeared on CNN, CBS, Fox2 Detroit, National Public Radio, BookTV (CSPAN) and dozens of local radio stations throughout the United States and Canada. Her essays have appeared in the Journal of American History, on the Huffington Post, TheGrio.com and TheRoot.com. She lives with her husband and two children in metro Detroit. 

(read more)