Friday, September 24, 2010

Black Women, Rape, and Resistance-- A New History of the Civil Rights Movement from Rosa Parks to the Rise of Black Power

Danielle McGuire
Brett Mountain Photography LLC


This is a very important new book by the brilliant Detroit historian, professor, and scholar Danielle McGuire that is destined to have a profound and lasting impact on our perceptions, and understanding of the intellectual, cultural, and political history of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1940s, '50s. and '60s, and an even more transformative effect on our ongoing appreciation and study of the pervasive, extraordinary and thoroughly revolutionary role of African American women in modern U.S. history...



"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."
—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

"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

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.

At the Dark End of the Street describes the decades of degradation black women on the Montgomery city buses endured on their way to cook and clean for their white bosses. It reveals how Rosa Parks, by 1955 one of the most radical activists in Alabama, had had enough. “There had to be a stopping place,” she said, “and this seemed to be the place for me to stop being pushed around.” Parks refused to move from her seat on the bus, was arrested, and, with fierce activist Jo Ann Robinson, organized a one-day bus boycott.

The protest, intended to last twenty-four hours, became a yearlong struggle for dignity and justice. It broke the back of the Montgomery city bus lines and bankrupted the company.

We see how and why Rosa Parks, instead of becoming a leader of the movement she helped to start, was turned into a symbol of virtuous black womanhood, sainted and celebrated for her quiet dignity, prim demeanor, and middle-class propriety—her radicalism all but erased. And we see as well how thousands of black women whose courage and fortitude helped to transform America were reduced to the footnotes of history.

A controversial, moving, and courageous book; narrative history at its best.
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Knopf (September 7, 2010)

The Detroit Blog

One year. One city. Endless opportunities.

Q&A: Danielle L. McGuire on Civil Rights and Detroit

Posted by KAREN DYBIS Tuesday, September 7, 2010

For most Detroiters, the name “Rosa Parks” generates a wealth of images, mostly that of an older, graying matriarch of the Civil Rights Movement. But do you know anything about a young, vibrant Rosa Parks? What do you know about this radical, vigilant woman with a passionate devotion to female equality?

Today, with the release of Danielle L. McGuire's new book, “At the Dark End of the Street,” people can learn about a new side of Rosa Parks. They also can discover other previously unknown female freedom fighters. McGuire, an Assistant Professor in the History Department at Wayne State University in Detroit, retells the story of the Civil Rights Movement with a focus on its violent past and champions the role of women in that struggle.

I'm about half way through the book, and I'm in love with the people McGuire found and gave voice to within her story. I spoke with her recently about what inspired the book, how she developed her sources and what it is like to be a White woman in Detroit teaching African-American studies.

Q: How did you find this story?

A: It was a coincidence. I was a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin, and I was helping one of my professors clean out his office and file things away. We were listening to NPR and they were doing a series on Civil Rights. The host was interviewing the White editor of Montgomery Advertiser, and he said that a woman named Gertrude Perkins was one of the most important people in terms of the Montgomery bus boycott. My professor was a Civil Rights scholar; both he and I were stumped as to who she was. We thought this guy was crazy. I went to the archives over the next week or so, ordered the Montgomery Advertiser and found the story of Gertrude Perkins. Turns out she was walking home from a party and was stopped by two Montgomery police officers. They took her to the railroad tracks and raped her. She went to her pastor and told him what happened. Her pastor sent the story to a (syndicated radio show host), who talked about it on air. Perkins went to the police station and reported it the next day. This was an incredible act for a Black woman and for the 1940s. This was years before the bus boycott, and it was the first time some of these ministers got together and stopped arguing. They came together to demand a trial for her. There was coverage in the White newspapers for months. … When I started reading Black newspapers, I began seeing rape cases happening regularly. Black women were assaulted by bus drivers, store owners, police officers. One of the major boycotts came after a teen-ager was raped by grocery store owner. They community boycotted the store and took it out of business. … These women had no other way to support themselves other than taking a bus; it was their own form of transportation if they were domestics who made only $500 a year. They had a right to walk through the world without being molested. They had been talking about it for a decade before the (Montgomery Bus Boycott) happened. That's when I started to see it as a women's movement instead of just spontaneous combustion. Being abused on the bus was the bane of their existence, so it makes sense to target the buses. (More on Read a story on Rosa Parks)

Q: How did you develop your research?

A: Back in 1998, I was asking, “Who is Gertrude Perkins?” By 2004, I knew exactly who she was and why (the man on NPR) said described her as so important. Each article, each little bit of documentation I found was a puzzle piece. It took a really long time to put it together. The evidence had to reveal itself to me. It was fascinating following these stories. … These are stories that were common knowledge in Black culture for decades. A lot of times, we only talk about equal access or the right to vote. Not a lot of people had looked at this (violence against Black women). This touches people's lives on a deep level.

Q: Does one moment stand out the most?

A: I interviewed Recy Taylor in 2008 after her family found me. I got a call from her youngest brother, who Googled his sister's name and saw I was writing about her. Her family has followed the case for years, tracking her assailants for years. They called me and asked if I wanted the real story. At that point, I hadn't been able to find her because she had remarried. I met with them on the day of President Obama's inauguration. I was nervous to talk to them, and I kept doing a lot of warm up questions. She finally looked at the camera and said, “This is what happened.” Here I am, intimidated, and this woman is not. She told the story very matter of factly. It was the first time many young people in her family had heard the story, and they felt very angry. The family wanted some measure of fairness from the past. Everywhere I went – everyone tells the same stories. (More on See "A Woman's Right to Vote")

Q: What kind of feedback are you getting from people – Black and White?

A: The African Americans I spoke to for the book who survived sexual abuse wanted somebody – they didn't care who – to pay attention. They didn't care who looked into it; they were just so happy someone did it. … I was on the Mildred Gaddis radio show recently, and she and her audience couldn't have been better. People were calling in, asking questions, sending me emails afterward. … I am a White woman teaching Black history and writing about Black history. I'd say 90 percent don't mind. There are a handful who believe it should only be written and taught by their people. I emphasize with that position to some degree. But I think we can't limit who writers about history as long as they do it with evidence and truthfully. I was in the Afro-American studies program at Wisconsin, and it was one of the first in the nation. Even at Wayne State, I've had classes that have a majority of Black students, and it has been a joy. People are really incredible. I see the looks, but after a couple classes, they're cool. I think they respect that I know the history and I've taken time to learn it. And I'm not so-called color blind. … Working in Detroit has really been an incredible experience. I've never had experiences like this that were so joyful and so challenging. It is so full of diamonds in the rough, ready to sparkle and waiting to be seen. (More on See pictures of Detroit's beautiful, horrible decline)

To order McGuire's new book, click

To check out her Web site, click here:

To read more please click on following link:

LOOK OUT! Here Comes Condi Da Skeeza And Her Corporate Criminal Sidekick Murderous Meg Whitman!


There goes that deadly political skank Condeleeza again who, like ALWAYS, is still a 'Skeeza' (which in hiphop street parlance is one of the most despicable things one could possibly be). In the time honored tradition of being Old School I would also like to cross reference traditional signifying terms of disparagement when discussing truly boneheaded rightwing KneeGrows like Condi. For example: some clueless people actually think that the term "Uncle Tom" (or if you prefer "Aunt Thomasina") has no place or relevance in today's so-called "sophisticated" political discourse. They're DEAD WRONG. Ever heard of Clarence Thomas, Tommy Sowell, Shelby Steele, Debra Dickerson, Larry Elder, Armstrong Williams, Glenn Loury, John McWhorter, etc., etc. just for starters? Yeah--I thought so...


P.S. Meg Whitman was National Campaign Chairman for the McCain-Palin ticket in 2008 and has now spent nearly $200 million dollars of her "own money"--which is to say part of the massive fortune she ripped off from being the former CEO of EBay. The amount she has thus far spent is also the largest any individual candidate has spent in an election bid in AMERICAN HISTORY! This brazen attempt to literally buy the upcoming Gubernatorial election here in California in November speaks loud and clear for itself...
To say Murderous Meg is the enemy of us all is a huge understatement...'Nuff said...

CARLA MARINUCCI Chronicle Politics Weblog MICHAEL J. MISHAK in the Los Angeles Times -- 9/22/10

A confident Meg Whitman, fundraising with Condi Rice, says she'll win young Obama voters, women -- and Latinos -- Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman raised $350,000 at a toney fundraiser with help from former Secretary of State Condolleeza Rice Tuesday, even as noisy protesters -- including teachers, nurses and firefighters -- gathered outside against a candidate they called "Wall Street Whitman."

Monday, September 20, 2010

President Obama Must Address the Substance of His Supporters's Criticisms


The political reality on the ground--whether we like it or not...


Doug Mills/The New York Times

President Obama discussed jobs and the economy during a CNBC town-hall-style meeting at the Newseum in Washington on Monday.

September 20, 2010
New York Times

WASHINGTON — It was billed as “Investing in America,” a live televised conversation on the state of the economy between President Obama and American workers, students, business people and retirees, a kind of Wall Street to Main Street reality check.

But it sounded like a therapy session for disillusioned Obama supporters.

In question after question during a one-hour session, which took place on Monday at the Newseum here and was televised on CNBC, Mr. Obama was confronted by people who sounded frustrated and anxious — even as some said they supported his agenda and proclaimed themselves honored to be in his presence.

People from Main Street wanted to know if the American dream still lived for them. People on Wall Street complained that he was treating them like a piñata, “whacking us with a stick,” in the words of Anthony Scaramucci, a former law school classmate of Mr. Obama’s who now runs a hedge fund and was one of the president’s questioners.

“I’m exhausted of defending you, defending your administration, defending the mantle of change that I voted for,” said the first questioner, an African-American woman who identified herself as a chief financial officer, a mother and a military veteran. “I’ve been told that I voted for a man who was going to change things in a meaningful way for the middle class and I’m waiting sir, I’m waiting. I still don’t feel it yet.”

A 30-year-old law school graduate told Mr. Obama that he had hoped to pursue a career in public service — like the president — but complained that he could barely pay the interest on his student loans, let alone think of getting married or starting a family.

“I was really inspired by you and your campaign and the message you brought, and that inspiration is dying away,” he said, adding, “And I really want to know, is the American dream dead for me?”

The extraordinarily personal tone of the session, coupled with more substantive policy questions from the host, John Harwood of CNBC and The New York Times, reflects the erosion of support for Mr. Obama among the constituencies that sent him to the White House two years ago.

It was all the more compelling coming from such a friendly audience; one questioner, a small-business owner in Pennsylvania, began by praising the president for turning around the auto industry, then lamented: “You’re losing the war of sound bites. You’re losing the media cycles.”

As he leads his party into what many analysts expect to be a devastating midterm election for Democrats, the president faces overwhelming skepticism from Americans on his handling of the economy. A recent New York Times poll found 57 percent of respondents believed the president did not have a clear plan for fixing the nation’s broken economy.

Mr. Obama sought on Monday to address those concerns, telling his business critics that he was not antibusiness and his middle class questioners that “there are a whole host of things we’ve put in place to make your life better.” He cited his health care bill, a financial regulatory overhaul measure that imposed tough requirements on credit card companies; an education bill that increased the availability of student loans.

The president also laid down a challenge to the Tea Party movement, whose candidates have swept aside mainstream Republicans in recent primaries in Alaska and Delaware. He said it was not enough for Tea Party candidates to campaign on a theme of smaller government; he tried to put them in an uncomfortable box by prodding them to offer specifics about the programs they would cut.

“The challenge for the Tea Party movement is to identify specifically: What would you do?” the president said. “It’s not enough to say get control of spending. I think it’s important for you to say, ‘I’m willing to cut veterans benefits, or I’m willing to cut Medicare or Social Security, or I’m willing to see taxes go up.’ ”

Mr. Obama hinted that he was open to considering a payroll tax holiday to spur job growth, saying he would be willing to “look at any idea that’s out there,” although he went on to say that some ideas that “look good on paper” are more complicated than they appear.

And he ducked a question from Mr. Harwood about whether he would be willing to debate the House Republican leader, John Boehner of Ohio, the way former President Bill Clinton had a debate 15 years ago with Newt Gingrich, who was then the House speaker.

“I think it’s premature to say that John Boehner’s going to be the speaker of the House,” Mr. Obama said.

Mr. Obama is stepping up his efforts to mobilize Democratic voters and find ways to improve the political climate for his party heading toward Election Day. He will begin trying to build enthusiasm among some of the voters who propelled him to victory in 2008, like college students, while Democratic strategists are considering ways to turn the increased prominence of the Tea Party movement to their advantage by characterizing positions taken by some Tea Party-backed Republican candidates as extreme.

The White House denied an article in The New York Times on Monday saying that Mr. Obama’s political advisers were considering national advertising to cast the Republican Party as having been all but taken over by the Tea Party movement.

“The story that led The New York Times yesterday was flat out wrong,” Dan Pfeiffer, the White House communications director, said in an e-mail message. “The White House has never discussed, contemplated or weighed such an ad campaign.”

Mr. Pfeiffer said the article “was based on the thinnest of reeds,” an anonymous source.

The Times stood by the report.

After his appearance on CNBC, the president flew to Philadelphia, where he appeared at two fund-raisers for Representative Joe Sestak, the Democratic Senate candidate in Pennsylvania, and raised $1 million for the Democratic National Committee.

If the televised session on Monday seemed to put Mr. Obama on the spot, he did not appear ruffled. Rather, he seemed resigned to the frustration of his questioners.

“My goal here is not to convince you that everything is where it needs to be,” the president said, “but what I am saying is that we are moving in the right direction.”

The Tyranny of the Rich vs. Social Democracy


As usual Krugman clearly tells us what's really going on "out there"...


September 19, 2010

The Angry Rich

New York Times

Anger is sweeping America. True, this white-hot rage is a minority phenomenon, not something that characterizes most of our fellow citizens. But the angry minority is angry indeed, consisting of people who feel that things to which they are entitled are being taken away. And they’re out for revenge.

No, I’m not talking about the Tea Partiers. I’m talking about the rich.

These are terrible times for many people in this country. Poverty, especially acute poverty, has soared in the economic slump; millions of people have lost their homes. Young people can’t find jobs; laid-off 50-somethings fear that they’ll never work again.

Yet if you want to find real political rage — the kind of rage that makes people compare President Obama to Hitler, or accuse him of treason — you won’t find it among these suffering Americans. You’ll find it instead among the very privileged, people who don’t have to worry about losing their jobs, their homes, or their health insurance, but who are outraged, outraged, at the thought of paying modestly higher taxes.

The rage of the rich has been building ever since Mr. Obama took office. At first, however, it was largely confined to Wall Street. Thus when New York magazine published an article titled “The Wail Of the 1%,” it was talking about financial wheeler-dealers whose firms had been bailed out with taxpayer funds, but were furious at suggestions that the price of these bailouts should include temporary limits on bonuses. When the billionaire Stephen Schwarzman compared an Obama proposal to the Nazi invasion of Poland, the proposal in question would have closed a tax loophole that specifically benefits fund managers like him.

Now, however, as decision time looms for the fate of the Bush tax cuts — will top tax rates go back to Clinton-era levels? — the rage of the rich has broadened, and also in some ways changed its character.

For one thing, craziness has gone mainstream. It’s one thing when a billionaire rants at a dinner event. It’s another when Forbes magazine runs a cover story alleging that the president of the United States is deliberately trying to bring America down as part of his Kenyan, “anticolonialist” agenda, that “the U.S. is being ruled according to the dreams of a Luo tribesman of the 1950s.” When it comes to defending the interests of the rich, it seems, the normal rules of civilized (and rational) discourse no longer apply.

At the same time, self-pity among the privileged has become acceptable, even fashionable.

Tax-cut advocates used to pretend that they were mainly concerned about helping typical American families. Even tax breaks for the rich were justified in terms of trickle-down economics, the claim that lower taxes at the top would make the economy stronger for everyone.

These days, however, tax-cutters are hardly even trying to make the trickle-down case. Yes, Republicans are pushing the line that raising taxes at the top would hurt small businesses, but their hearts don’t really seem in it. Instead, it has become common to hear vehement denials that people making $400,000 or $500,000 a year are rich. I mean, look at the expenses of people in that income class — the property taxes they have to pay on their expensive houses, the cost of sending their kids to elite private schools, and so on. Why, they can barely make ends meet.

And among the undeniably rich, a belligerent sense of entitlement has taken hold: it’s their money, and they have the right to keep it. “Taxes are what we pay for civilized society,” said Oliver Wendell Holmes — but that was a long time ago.

The spectacle of high-income Americans, the world’s luckiest people, wallowing in self-pity and self-righteousness would be funny, except for one thing: they may well get their way. Never mind the $700 billion price tag for extending the high-end tax breaks: virtually all Republicans and some Democrats are rushing to the aid of the oppressed affluent.

You see, the rich are different from you and me: they have more influence. It’s partly a matter of campaign contributions, but it’s also a matter of social pressure, since politicians spend a lot of time hanging out with the wealthy. So when the rich face the prospect of paying an extra 3 or 4 percent of their income in taxes, politicians feel their pain — feel it much more acutely, it’s clear, than they feel the pain of families who are losing their jobs, their houses, and their hopes.

And when the tax fight is over, one way or another, you can be sure that the people currently defending the incomes of the elite will go back to demanding cuts in Social Security and aid to the unemployed. America must make hard choices, they’ll say; we all have to be willing to make sacrifices.

But when they say “we,” they mean “you.” Sacrifice is for the little people.