The problem of racism is topical for modern American society. Unfortunately, racism is not only about hatred of people with different skin colors but also about encroachment on their lives and inviolability. One of the most famous victims of racism is Recy Taylor, who was kidnapped and raped by six white men in 1944. This incident caused a huge public outcry and led to a significant step forward in the fight of Black people for their rights, even though these men had never been punished. At the Dark End of the Street analyzes the position of African American women in American society in the Jim Crow era and discusses the process of Black women’s fight for respect and their rights.
tailored to your instructions
for only $13.00 $11.05/page
The major topics of At the Dark End of the Street are the history of the US’s civil rights, the anti-racist movement, and the victimization of African American women in the 20th century. According to the author, even after the abolition of slavery and segregation, rapes were the tool that white people applied “to dominate the bodies and minds of African-American men and women” (McGuire 18). The book’s primary purpose is to describe the history of Rosa Parks, a prominent Black rights movement activist, and show how her rebellious image was ruined afterward.
The author of the book, Danielle L. McGuire, is a public speaker, writer, and historian. Although her most notable achievement is At the Dark End of the Street because it brought her two awards, it is not her only contribution to the sphere of civil rights. McGuire also delivers lectures for the Organization of American Historians and actively educates young people and children about civil rights issues.
The book consists of eight chapters dedicated to the specific period in the history of Black women’s fight for their rights. Apart from secondary sources such as books, articles, research and thesis papers, and various digital sources, the author uses numerous primary sources. More precisely, McGuire analyzed almost 40 newspapers and local periodicals to examine how particular events were covered. The author also interviewed about 30 personalities, including such civil rights movement activists as Johnnie Carr, Joyce Ladner, Solomon Seay, Jr., and even one of the victims of violence based on race, Recy Taylor.
The major strength of this book is that Danielle McGuire provides a profound analysis of the history of the civil rights movement in the US, emphasizes Black women’s role in it, and describes the problem of sexual racialization of Black women. That is why the view on the origins of the civil rights movement presented in McGuire’s book differs significantly from the view proclaimed in most other books that ignore the rapes of Black women by white men. At the same time, excerpts from newspapers and magazines are mainly used as illustrations of thoughts or just fleetingly mentioned in the main text. A more profound analysis of newspapers articles could make the plot even richer and give additional insights.
To conclude, this book is extremely impressive and groundbreaking due to the different approaches to the Black rights movement. At the Dark End of the Street is highly recommended not only to specialists inserted in the problem of racism, civil rights activists, and scholars who examine this topic but also to ordinary people. That is because this book explains the reasons for the sexual abuse of Black women and tells their story of the fight for rights. More importantly, it makes the readers think of what could be done to somehow contribute to eradicating racism and bias toward people of different skin color.
McGuire, Danielle L. 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. First Vintage Books, 2010.
as little as 3 hours