Danielle McGuire's "At the Dark End of the Street." - Essay Sample

Published: 2023-12-28
Danielle McGuire's "At the Dark End of the Street." - Essay Sample
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Women Discrimination Civil rights
Pages: 3
Wordcount: 561 words
5 min read

Danielle McGuire is ranked among the most influential and prominent writers, particularly for "At the Dark End of the Street," which brings out untold struggles made by female civil rights activists and African American women against sexual violence and racism patterns between the 1940s-1970s. McGuire achieves this by bringing out Recy Taylor and Rosa Parks' stories in reinterpreting the civil rights activities, therefore revealing the often concealed and overlooked the black women’s struggle and role in civil rights history. For instance, the book initiates chapter one, with the story of the gang-raped and abduction of Recy Taylor (aged 24 and a mother) by the whites in Alabama (1944), after which Rosa Parks (activists) was assigned NAACP office to scrutinize the case (McGuire, 2012). The black women’s demonstrations against interracial rape and sexual assaults by white males who then incorporated terror, sexual violence, and economic intimidation in derailing the freedom associations and enforcing economic and racial hierarchy went scot-free all through "the Jim crow period."

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Therefore, the black women’s demonstrations sparked "the modern civil rights movement” all through the South, which started in "WW2-the black power movements." Danielle’s main argument is that the protests helped set the foundation for the "Montgomery bus boycott" in 1955, which eventually succeeded. The book highlights black women's racial discrimination in public transportation as they traveled to clean and cook for the whites. In chapters 2-3, after Rosa Parks refuses to leave her bus seat to white man, she is arrested, which is the main reason behind the bus boycott organized by Ann Robinson, which later became a prolonged fight for justice and dignity. They destroyed bus lines in Montgomery, leaving the company bankrupt. Therefore, erasing women’s role from civil rights activities meant that Rosa Parks and Ann Robinson(chief strategists) role in fundraising, campaigning, coordinating carpools, and organizing the "Montgomery improvement associations," and the 4 women's lawsuits which terminated transportation discriminations remained invisible with reduced historical notice (McGuire, 2012). In her statement, Jeanne Nobles, who had experienced police hostility while in prison, said, “I can think of no greater indignity than rape…unsanitary conditions” (198). Fannie Lou also depicts her story at the "Democratic national convention continuously till her death” (195). Their stories gave others the strength to share similar stories on media platforms.

Montgomery women are depicted as organized in preparing the demonstrations and housed above fifty mutual, political, and social groups during the bus boycott. Even though the movement at some point forced prosecutors into charging white men for sexually assaulting black women, the campaigners struggled for long before courtroom convictions were held (McGuire, 2012). In chapter 8, movements towards freeing Joan Little became successful. She had been jailed for killing a correctional officer after sexually assaulting her (self-defense murder) in 1975. Generally, Danielle's argument is that, even though the civil rights protestors and African American women aided in transforming the United States, their activities are not largely included in the civil rights history.


McGuire, D. L. (2012). 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 (New York, 2010), xix; Kidada Williams. They Left Great Marks on Me: African American Testimonies of Racial Violence from Emancipation to World War, 20. Retrieve from: https://www.amazon.com/At-Dark-End-Street-Resistance/dp/0307389243

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