Welcome Danielle McGuire and Host, Steven Lawson, Professor Emeritus

[As a courtesy to our guests, please keep comments to the book.  Please take other conversations to a previous thread.  - bev]

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

Steven Lawson, Host:

Danielle McGuire, the prizewinning author and assistant professor of history at Wayne State University, has written a beautifully crafted and richly researched testimony of the hidden transcript of the Civil Rights Movement. 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 makes a powerful case for re-imagining the Civil Rights Movement in the South through the lens of sexual violence. This path-breaking book spotlights incidents of sexual assault from the early 1940s to the mid 1970s. Rather than remaining secreted, these brutal attacks inspired community protests among African Americans and their white allies. These grassroots struggles of resistance to white supremacy helped initiate the wider Civil Rights Movement that emerged after World War II and which eventually forced the national government to end racial segregation and black disfranchisement. Also, these community-based networks of support provided the infrastructure for the more familiar history of civil rights activities in Montgomery and Selma, Alabama, Jackson, Mississippi, Tallahassee, Florida and other southern cities.

For many years the names of very few women appeared in the standard histories of the Civil Rights Movement. Rosa Parks was one of the few. Yet even though Parks is well known for her role in the Montgomery bus boycott, she has never emerged as the fully developed leader portrayed by Professor McGuire. Parks was much more than a seamstress who felt too tired to give up her seat on a segregated bus. She had a long history as a civil rights activist, including efforts to obtain justice for rape victims in Alabama. Indeed, in perhaps the most remarkable feature of this book, the author shows how the Montgomery bus boycott emerged out of Parks’ and other lesser-known black women’s struggles to protect themselves from the daily violence accompanying Jim Crow. In her brilliant reinterpretation, the Montgomery bus boycott becomes more than a protest against segregated transportation. Instead, it grew out of longstanding attempts by the black community to safeguard women and provided an important means for black men to assert themselves toward this end.

Through her presentation of poignant stories of many unheralded women previously lost to history—Recy Taylor, Gertrude Perkins, Betty Jean Owens, Rosa Lee Coates, and Joan Little to name several—McGuire discovers what she calls “a culture of testimony” evidenced in the voices of African American rape victims. Rather than remaining silent in the face of sexual assault, a model of behavior which many black women considered respectable, the Recy Taylors of the South chose bravely to bear public witness against their white attackers. Their courageous testimony to the police and in court did not usually bring personal victory within the racist legal system, but it did spark successful community protests for racial equality.

In writing Dark End of the Street, Professor McGuire functions partly as historian, partly as detective. She worked assiduously to find sources—in local black newspapers as well as the mainstream press, in police records, in the minutes of women’s and civil rights organizations, and in the memories of elderly African American women—that allowed her to trace the links between violence and civil rights activism throughout the South. She spent a good deal of time interviewing some of the long-forgotten victims of sexual violence. She tracked down Recy Taylor in 2008 and tells the moving story of joining her and her family in Alabama (near the very place she had been raped almost seventy years earlier) to watch on television the inauguration of Barack Obama, the first African-American president of the United States. In ways that Danielle McGuire is the first to reveal, Taylor and others like her paved the way for this remarkable triumph decades later.

152 Responses to “FDL Book Salon Welcomes Danielle McGuire, 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”

BevW February 19th, 2011 at 1:56 pm

Danielle, Steven, Welcome to the Lake.

Steven, Thank you for Hosting today’s Book Salon.

Danielle McGuire February 19th, 2011 at 1:59 pm

Thanks for having me! I’m thrilled to be here.

Danielle McGuire February 19th, 2011 at 1:59 pm
In response to BevW @ 1

Good afternoon! Great to me here!

dakine01 February 19th, 2011 at 2:00 pm

Good afternoon Danielle and Steven and welcome to FDL this afternoon

Danielle, I have not had an opportunity to read your book but do have a question and forgive me if you answer it in the book

why do you think the rapes and other anti-women activities were given such short shrift in the Civil Rights movement?

(and I do enjoy the irony of this book being the Book Salon offering on the same day the Sons of the Confederacy are having their “re-creation” in Montgomery, AL – where the “First White House of the Confederacy” sits a couple of blocks from the Southern Poverty Law Center)

Steven Lawson February 19th, 2011 at 2:00 pm

Hi, all

Blair Kelley February 19th, 2011 at 2:01 pm
In response to BevW @ 1

Good evening looking forward to a great discussion.

Danielle McGuire February 19th, 2011 at 2:03 pm
In response to dakine01 @ 4

Hi!

That’s a great question. I’m not sure I know the “exact” or “right” answer, but I can speculate. First, I think our own discomfort and silences surrounding sexual violence hinder our work as historians. For example, we don’t ask civil rights veterans questions about rape or other kinds of sexual violence because we assume they don’t want talk about it. We assume silence even though black women testified publicly about these crimes in the past. And so, I think some historians have just ignored the evidence. Second, historians have tended to focus on prominent civil rights organizations like the NAACP, SNCC, and SCLC; nationally recognized “leaders” like Martin Luther King Jr., Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, etc.; major campaigns like the 1955-56 Montgomery bus boycott, King’s 1963 Birmingham campaign, the 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer, or the 1965 voting rights march in Selma; and the role of Congress and the President in passing laws to advance African American equality.

When there is a focus on racial violence, it is almost always directed at black men. Some historians have assumed that black women were safer and less vulnerable to racial violence than black men. And that may be true in cases of lynching, though black women were certainly lynch victims, but not when we look at sexual violence.

There have been some really incredible studies of grassroots movements that highlight the organizing efforts of ordinary people—especially the leadership and experiences of black women—that expand our understanding of the African American freedom struggle. These studies certainly helped me rethink the movement as a whole, and encouraged many of us to think about the human side of the movement, so I think that we are finally starting to get a more realistic and thorough sense of the civil rights movement and the people who made it happen.

Danielle McGuire February 19th, 2011 at 2:03 pm
In response to Blair Kelley @ 6

Hi Dr. Lawson and Dr. Kelley! Thanks for being here tonight!

Blair Kelley February 19th, 2011 at 2:04 pm
In response to dakine01 @ 4

I think that an important point the book makes is that this sexual violence was in many ways formative of the movement as a whole. Helped to create the protest networks that made the movement possible.

Steven Lawson February 19th, 2011 at 2:04 pm

Danielle, when you finish answering the previous question, I’d like to ask who was the Rosa Parks that history doesn’t know about?

Danielle McGuire February 19th, 2011 at 2:06 pm
In response to Blair Kelley @ 9

Yes–so often I found that incidents of sexual violence–or sexualized racial violence–served as catalysts for larger campaigns for justice. And that so many of the movements we think we know–like the Montgomery bus boycott–often have a history of gendered political appeals for the protection of black women

Danielle McGuire February 19th, 2011 at 2:06 pm
In response to Steven Lawson @ 10

Rosa Parks….that simple seamstress whose tired feet made her tiptoe into history? I love that story! It’s too bad that it’s just not true. The real Rosa Parks is so much more interesting.

Steven Lawson February 19th, 2011 at 2:07 pm

Tell us what you mean,

Danielle McGuire February 19th, 2011 at 2:11 pm
In response to Steven Lawson @ 10

Rosa Parks was a radical activist, a fierce detective, and an anti-rape organizer long before she became the Madonna of Montgomery.

Starting in the 1930s, she was part of an activist infrastructure that protested the mistreatment of the Scottsboro Youth, fought for voting rights, and worked to make democracy real. In 1943, she joined and became secretary of the Montgomery NAACP–but she was mostly their main detective. She’d travel the dusty backroads of Alabama taking notes on racial atrocities and listening to folks’ testimonies about racial discrimination and other kinds of human rights violations. She’d take those stories back to Montgomery, where she and the city’s most militant activists organized campaigns for justice.

Her first big campaign focused on the 1944 rape of Recy Taylor by a group of white men in Abbeville, AL.

Steven Lawson February 19th, 2011 at 2:12 pm

How did you first learn that there was a different story to tell about Mrs. Parks?

Blair Kelley February 19th, 2011 at 2:12 pm

How does a more complex understanding of Rosa Parks help us redefine movement leadership? What does her model teach us?

Danielle McGuire February 19th, 2011 at 2:14 pm
In response to Steven Lawson @ 13

In response to the attack on Recy Taylor, Rosa Parks helped create the “Citizens Committee for Equal Justice for Mrs. Recy Taylor”, which became a national and even international protest movement. The Chicago Defender called it the “strongest campaign for equal justice to be seen in a decade.”

Throughout the 1940s, Parks worked on similar cases (interracial sexual violence) in addition to serving on the Montgomery NAACP, the Alabama Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, and as the Director for the NAACP youth league.

AFter the bus boycott, parks moved to Detroit (1957) where she continued her activism in what she called, “the promised land that wasn’t”. She was a follower and fan of Malcolm X and got involved in multiple civil rights and Black Power protests.

Melody February 19th, 2011 at 2:15 pm

Hello! Sorry I’m late!

Danielle, I loved reading about the young Rosa, with nationalist leanings.

Lorraine Watkins February 19th, 2011 at 2:15 pm

I am so glad to see this book and someone addressing the predicament of black women in the south. I came to the deep south in 1958 and thus had some experience of Jim Crow. Among other abuses I saw white medical doctors in the charity hospitals fondle black women and other intrusive activities. No one openly protested. I came to realize that white men in the south had assumed free access to black women as a prerogative of being white and male continuing from the days of slavery. In fact today I see much of that attitude in the welfare laws that are passed etc.

Danielle McGuire February 19th, 2011 at 2:17 pm
In response to Steven Lawson @ 15

Other historians have documented Parks’ history as an activist. Douglas Brinkley, for example, wrote a lovely biography of Rosa Parks that is really great and captures her long history of protest. But I first discovered her activism on behalf of black women who were raped by white men when I was doing research on the Recy Taylor case. I didn’t know Rosa Parks was part of that protest until I found her petitions and postcards in the Alabama Department of Archives and History. That’s when I realized there was even more to the story than what even her biographers knew.

Steven Lawson February 19th, 2011 at 2:17 pm

Although she primarily worked with the NAACP her attendance at a training session for community organizers at the Highlander Folk School in early 1955 was very important. She attended the session led by Ella Baker, one of the great organizers in the civil rights movement. Danielle, who were the other great women organizers that have not gotten a lot of attention.

Melody February 19th, 2011 at 2:18 pm

I also loved reading that the Montgomery boycott was successful in part because the African-American women who were the majority of the bus passengers were sick of being sexually harassed by the bus drivers.

Melody February 19th, 2011 at 2:20 pm
In response to TalkingStick @ 19

Talkingstick, that sounds hideous, but sadly, not surprising.

Blair Kelley February 19th, 2011 at 2:21 pm
In response to Melody @ 22

Women were at the heart of boycott success because they really relied so heavily on transportation. The women had to make the greatest sacrifices to make the movement a success.

Danielle McGuire February 19th, 2011 at 2:21 pm
In response to Blair Kelley @ 16

That’s a great question, Blair. I think that getting to know a more complex Rosa Parks teaches more about how movements happen–Parks labored for equality for decades and worked for numerous organizations that slowly, patiently did what Ella Baker called the “spade work” of organizing. So when she had the opportunity to resist Jim Crow on the buses, she knew exactly what to do. Knew exactly what would happen. She knew folks were ready to boycott. I think that if we know how the movement really happened, then we can take those lessons and apply them better today.

I also think that a fuller vision of Parks helps us see what women were concerned about, what they were fighting for, and what they were involved in during the freedom struggle. If we listen to what black women at the time were testifying about publicly, then the movement becomes more about human rights and not just limited to “civil” rights.

Steven Lawson February 19th, 2011 at 2:22 pm
In response to Melody @ 23

Mrs, Parks wasn’t harassed sexually but she was treated disrespectfully by a bus driver in 1944. It was the same bus driver who had her arrested in 1955.

Melody February 19th, 2011 at 2:22 pm

Yes! And so “the men lead, but the women organized.”

Danielle, can you tell us about the Club from Nowhere?

Blair Kelley February 19th, 2011 at 2:23 pm

Yes, and whether or not those women were noticed by the mainstream press, their outlook was formative, not just an add on to men’s leadership.

Lorraine Watkins February 19th, 2011 at 2:24 pm

African American women were the real grass roots of the movement especially early. You haven’t met power until you have met one of those women. They were wonderful. And they are still around. Shirley Sherrod comes to mind.

Danielle McGuire February 19th, 2011 at 2:24 pm
In response to TalkingStick @ 19

@TalkingStick–wow. Thanks for sharing that. I found a significant amount of information about black women being sexually harassed and assaulted in jail, but not in hospitals (although I admit, I didn’t do a lot of research on that) Although that makes perfect sense. The sense of entitlement that white men had towards black women was rooted in slavery and had been passed down through the generations.

Of course, we all know about the “Mississippi appendectomy,” right? Fannie Lou Hamer talked about how she went into the hospital with stomach pain and left without a uterus.

Danielle McGuire February 19th, 2011 at 2:25 pm
In response to Blair Kelley @ 24

Absolutely. In Montgomery, African American women made up 90% of the city’s ridership. When they decided to stop riding–because of harassment, humiliation, and endless mistreatment–the city buses could no longer function.

Melody February 19th, 2011 at 2:26 pm

Hi Steven, yeah, that driver sounds like a real piece of work, though probably much too typical. I’m so glad it worked out that Mrs. Parks stood up against him in particular. I’ll bet she was, too.

Steven Lawson February 19th, 2011 at 2:27 pm
In response to Melody @ 32

This is for Danielle (I pressed the wrong button. I’m from the pre-digital age)You open the book with an account of the brutal gang rape of a young mother named Recy Taylor. You’ve actually spoken with her and her family. How did you find them?

Lorraine Watkins February 19th, 2011 at 2:28 pm

Involuntary sterilization was not uncommon. There are a lot of untold stories.

Danielle McGuire February 19th, 2011 at 2:31 pm
In response to Melody @ 27

@Melody–

Ahh..the Club From Nowhere! What a great story. African American women were the chief negotiators and strategiests of the 1955-6 Montgomery bus boycott. They filled the pews at all the mass meetings; they were dispatchers and drivers for the amazing car pool system that kept the boycott going; and they raised most of the local money for the boycott. One of the lead fundraisers was Georgia Gilmore, a nurse, midwife and defiant mother of 6. She used her culinary skills to make meals to sell to the business folks downtown. Then she took that money and donated it to the boycott. She and her cohorts turned the skills that whites generally exploited into powerful tools for the movement. After a while these women started calling themselves the “Club from Nowhere” and their proud marches to the collection plate during mass meetings were greeted by foot-stomping and shouts of AMEN! AMEN! Eventually other groups of AFrican American women competed with the Club from Nowhere–selling chicken dinners and taking the proceeds back to the community. Of course, these women are often not remembered in history books–if they’re in the there at all, they’re in the footnotes. But they deserve wider recognition.

bmaz February 19th, 2011 at 2:33 pm

Danielle, welcome to FDL and thank you for joining us. It is certainly not rape, nor even on that level literally, but the issue of civil rights is not limited to the past and indeed carries on into the present, and likely will the foreseeable future. One of the prominent flashpoints is the bigoted right wing meme of fraud and reverse discrimination in the Pigford settlement, which has been wrongfully hung on Shirley Sherrod like the proverbial scarlet letter. A form of character rape being perpetrated by Andrew Breitbart, Rush Limbaugh and many noisy elements on the right.

How do you think the lessons of the past you have delved into so deeply, and written about so passionately, relate to such a current incarnation of prejudice and bigotry?

Danielle McGuire February 19th, 2011 at 2:33 pm
In response to Steven Lawson @ 33

@Steven:

Incredibly, they found me. Robert Corbitt, Recy’s youngest brother, spent decades trying to dig up information on his sister’s assailants. He combed through old files at the courthouse and scanned microfilm of Abbeville’s newspaper at the library searching for clues—dates, names etc. He asked friends and neighbors what they remembered. He never forgot about what those white men did to his sister; to his whole family. Over time the pain and trauma of the assault, not to mention the injustice, dulled, but never disappeared. One day he searched “Recy Taylor” on his computer and my name appeared. I was giving a presentation at the Center for the Study of the American South at the University of North Carolina and there was a poster announcing the event on their website. He emailed me and I called him immediately. We talked many times on the phone throughout the fall and winter of 2008. I met him and Recy and their extended family in Abbeville, Alabama the same day Barack Obama took the oath of office as the first African American president. I am so grateful Recy felt comfortable telling me her story and that her entire family recounted their memories of both the crime and what life was like during Jim Crow. It was an emotional and powerful meeting that I will never forget.

Lorraine Watkins February 19th, 2011 at 2:33 pm

It has to be realized that this racialist abuse of power was endemic in all the institutions in the south and perpetrated by or silently accepted by the entrenched political, economic and cultural power structures. From the state capitol to the Chamber of Commerce to the churches.

Blair Kelley February 19th, 2011 at 2:34 pm

Such a wonderful story. Makes me as a historian worry about all the small things we miss, how can we recover more of these histories?

Steven Lawson February 19th, 2011 at 2:34 pm

Yes and before them was the Women’s Political Council and Jo Ann Gibson Robinson. I’d guess their memberships overlapped.

Danielle McGuire February 19th, 2011 at 2:34 pm
In response to TalkingStick @ 38

@TalkingStick: Amen.

Steven Lawson February 19th, 2011 at 2:35 pm

Do you think either Alabama or the US will reopen her case as a cold case?

Peterr February 19th, 2011 at 2:36 pm

Welcome, Danielle and Steven!

I just got the book but haven’t yet had the time to dig into it much, but was attracted to it because of some of the conversations I’ve had with civil rights veterans, including a number of African-American women.

The sense I got from them was that during the 60s, they had a choice: fight the civil rights battles alongside some sexist men or fight the women’s rights battles alongside some racist white women. Either way, they said, it felt like you had to swallow hard and put up with a lot, in order to try to advance whichever cause you were pushing. They were told — or told themselves — “Don’t make waves, because it will just give the opponents ammunition to discredit us.”

And if you were an African-American lesbian . . . that’s another layer of oppression to deal with. Does the book get into LGBT issues at all?

Steven Lawson February 19th, 2011 at 2:37 pm
In response to TalkingStick @ 38

And no matter what Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour purports to remember, so to the White Citizens’ Council.

Danielle McGuire February 19th, 2011 at 2:38 pm
In response to Blair Kelley @ 39

Yes, I wish I knew more about the Club from Nowhere and Georgia Gilmore. She sounds amazing. I think that we just have to be open to hearing stories about folks who are unknown and talking to folks who don’t see themselves as history-makers. There are still so many women in Montgomery who were part of the boycott who have stories to tell and we need to listen to them. I think that so often, we as historians get focused on our own agenda or thesis and don’t allow for digressions–and so we miss a lot. I know that there are stories I’ve missed. Almost every day I get an email from someone telling me about their mother, grandmother, sister etc. and what they endured in the segregated South. It’s enough to write another book!

BevW February 19th, 2011 at 2:40 pm

I’d like to apologize and introduce Dr. Blair Kelley, who is also here Hosting Danielle’s Book Salon.

Dr. Kelley’s website

Blair Kelley February 19th, 2011 at 2:41 pm

Its important for us to be open to having further conversations about our work, knowing that we can never master everything and there are always more layers to these histories. I’m glad you are hearing from more folks.

Steven Lawson February 19th, 2011 at 2:41 pm
In response to Peterr @ 43

You’re right about sexism in progressive movements at the time. But it should also be pointed out that even staid organizations like the NAACP employed amazing woman like Ella Baker, Daisy Bates, and Ruby Hurley. And the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) gathered so many impressive young women (and men) who despite popular myth did more than janitorial and clerical duties. They were astute field workers.

Danielle McGuire February 19th, 2011 at 2:42 pm
In response to Steven Lawson @ 42

@Steven: I spoke with Ben Greenberg who works for the Cold Case Initiative and he said he forwarded Recy Taylor’s story to a few people. I haven’t heard anything back from them. But some of these states do not have any statute of limitations for rape–Alabama is one of them–so I guess it’s possible to reopen the case, though unlikely. All of Taylor’s assailants are dead, so that makes a new case difficult if not impossible.

I think it’s unfair that the legislation funding many of these new trials for civil rights era “cold cases” was limited to murder and did not include victims of rape.

Blair Kelley February 19th, 2011 at 2:43 pm
In response to Steven Lawson @ 48

Yes, I was thrilled that Patricia Sullivan’s new work on the NAACP uncovered another even early generation of women field workers in the NAACP.

eCAHNomics February 19th, 2011 at 2:44 pm

Just coming in & haven’t read all the comments, so skip this if it’s already been covered.

Earlier today on book-TV the author of a book that focuses on the 1963 march mentioned that the committee that planned it excluded women from speaking, but after they complained, a very small role was allowed. Do you have anything in your book about that, or would you like to address it here?

Steven Lawson February 19th, 2011 at 2:44 pm

One of the great strengths of At the Dark End of the Street is the attention you pay to individual lives and personal stories. Did you find that people were willing to talk to you freely about their experiences?

Danielle McGuire February 19th, 2011 at 2:45 pm
In response to bmaz @ 36

@bmaz: Thanks for your question. I think we see this legacy everywhere–from the way that Pres. Obama is disrespected and caricatured to the way that folks are obsessed with Michelle Obama’s body like she’s the reincarnation of the Venus Hottentot.

Lorraine Watkins February 19th, 2011 at 2:47 pm

I lived for 2 years one block over and two down from the Ebenezer Baptist Church.

The activists I recall best and knew best were the African American club women with their beautiful clothes and those hats! They exerted their power and demands as much on the visible faces of the movement as they did on the white establishment.

Steven Lawson February 19th, 2011 at 2:47 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 51

Of course Mahalia Jackson sang but no woman spoke. Dorothy Height of the National Association of Colored Women did get on stage. Hers is another instance of important women not getting their due in standard history texts.

Peterr February 19th, 2011 at 2:47 pm

Did you talk with Jeannie Graetz, Bob Graetz’s wife, when you did the research for this book? If you’re serious about looking for some of the women around Montgomery for another book, Jeannie might be able to connect you with them.

(Note: I’m a Lutheran pastor myself, and know Bob and Jeannie from some national church meetings we attended together.)

Blair Kelley February 19th, 2011 at 2:48 pm
In response to bmaz @ 36

But I think the more that the actual history of the struggle for African American citizenship is uncovered it makes the notion of “reverse racism” harder to defend.

Danielle McGuire February 19th, 2011 at 2:49 pm
In response to Peterr @ 43

@Peterr: the book doesn’t get into LGBT issues at all–the focus is mostly on how sex and sexualized violence sit at the center of the modern civil rights movement.

I just spoke with Juanita Abernathy about how she and her colleagues during the movement felt about the public spotlight always focusing on men. She said that she and others were often proud of the men in their community and were happy to see them receive some public acknowledgement for their leadership. But she also said that no one should think that that meant they were actually the leaders! She said that it was black women who ran the Montgomery bus boycott and nearly every other major campaign.

Steven Lawson February 19th, 2011 at 2:50 pm
In response to TalkingStick @ 54

Back in the 1940s black clubwomen were active in voter registration drives, which the historian Kathy nasstrom has written about.

Melody February 19th, 2011 at 2:51 pm
In response to TalkingStick @ 54

Talkingstick, we need a book from you! Are you writing or recording your stories?

Margot February 19th, 2011 at 2:51 pm

Danielle, thanks for writing this book. I’m still reading it and the stories you relate are very affecting, maddening, inspiring…I don’t know how to describe it. I’m so happy you’re here.

Steven Lawson February 19th, 2011 at 2:52 pm
In response to Blair Kelley @ 57

I agree. The problem in part is that people use racism as if they mean prejudice. But racism is a system of power that oppresses and exploits groups considered marginal. It’s structural and not personal, which is why given the history of the US it is incorrect to speak of “reverse racism” in the way it is bandied about.

bmaz February 19th, 2011 at 2:53 pm
In response to Blair Kelley @ 57

Yes, I think that is exactly right. In fact, that is precisely what I was trying to discern, how what has successfully worked to counter the phenomenon in the past can be applied into the current iterations.

Danielle McGuire February 19th, 2011 at 2:54 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 51

@CAHNomics: my understanding is that that’s right. Some women were recognized, but were not allowed to speak. Allegedly Rosa Parks turned to Daisy Bates and said, “hopefully there’s a better day coming for us, too”. I think the point is that African American women were upset that their leadership was continually dismissed by some of the pillars in the movement. Ella Baker eventually quit the SCLC because she was tired of being treated, “like a chandelier”.

Lorraine Watkins February 19th, 2011 at 2:55 pm
In response to Melody @ 60

Thanks Melody. I mostly just keep trucking along through personal contacts and liberal activist groups. For me it’s all just personal memoir and not good documented history such as Danielle is doing. I could probably put more online. You inspire me to do it.

Danielle McGuire February 19th, 2011 at 2:55 pm
In response to Peterr @ 56

Thanks, @Peterr. I did not speak with her. I’m in touch with a number of women who were active in the movement or whose mothers were active. I’d like to talk to them more about their memories of the boycott.

Blair Kelley February 19th, 2011 at 2:55 pm
In response to Steven Lawson @ 62

Exactly, its why I try to avoid using the term racism, and instead specifically describe a person’s action.

Steven Lawson February 19th, 2011 at 2:56 pm

Danielle, don’t you make the point in the book that the campaigns surrounding these rape cases gave men in these communities an opportunity to defend black women (wives, girlfriends, sisters, mothers), something they had trouble doing otherwise at the risk of getting lynched?

Danielle McGuire February 19th, 2011 at 2:57 pm
In response to Steven Lawson @ 52

@StevenLawson
Yes. Which makes it even more shocking that most histories of the civil rights movement ignore issues related to sexualized racial violence. Not only did women tell me their stories, they had been telling them to all kinds of people—for decades. Read the front page of any black newspaper during the Jim Crow period and you will find endless testimony by black women about being sexually propositioned, harassed, beaten and raped by white men throughout the South. There were, of course, some women who did not want to talk or rehash a painful period in their lives. But most of the women I interviewed spoke freely about their experiences. Some seemed relieved of a heavy burden; some are still hurt and angry; and almost all of them still hope that justice will prevail.

Blair Kelley February 19th, 2011 at 2:58 pm
In response to bmaz @ 63

I loved the way that Shirley Sherrod’s own history of service was so complex, and defeated any simplified notion of “black revenge.” I think history is the best defense against simplified political stupidity.

Steven Lawson February 19th, 2011 at 2:59 pm

Danielle, given the roles of so many women, might not the civil rights movement be called a women’s movement?

Danielle McGuire February 19th, 2011 at 2:59 pm
In response to Margot @ 61

@Margot

Thank you. I appreciate it.

Danielle McGuire February 19th, 2011 at 2:59 pm
In response to Blair Kelley @ 70

@Blair: I’d like to retweet this comment! Ha!

bmaz February 19th, 2011 at 3:00 pm
In response to Steven Lawson @ 62

I am curious how you see such a clear distinction. While “prejudice” may be directed at the one, it is based on a bigotry and/or hatred of the whole underlying class. That said, I quite agree with your dismissal of “reverse racism”, it is a pernicious and falsely manufactured term.

Blair Kelley February 19th, 2011 at 3:00 pm

I’ll put it on twitter for you…

Steven Lawson February 19th, 2011 at 3:02 pm
In response to Blair Kelley @ 70

Shirley Sherrod and her husband Charles, one of the earliest of SNCC staff in Georgia, are two of the best people our flawed American society has produced. They have been committed to equal justice forever. they truly believe in interracial personhood. The fact that Shirley could be attacked on the basis of flimsy lies tells us what remains wrong about contemporary US. And the liar keeps on lying about other things.

Danielle McGuire February 19th, 2011 at 3:02 pm
In response to Steven Lawson @ 68

@Steven: Yes. I do make that point. And it was very important because black men had been denied that role for so long.

Margot February 19th, 2011 at 3:04 pm

How do we go about preserving more of this history? This is part of us. We need to hear it.

Melody February 19th, 2011 at 3:04 pm
In response to Blair Kelley @ 57

“Reverse racism” and “post-racial” both make me want to holler. Anti-white sentiment among people of color could only be considered racism if whites were not in charge of everything, and other people had the ability to deny them jobs, housing, loans, the vote, bodily integrity, and access to public spaces.

And “post-racial” is balderdash of the lowest order. No one who has a single clue ever has ever used that term except with enormous irony.

Steven Lawson February 19th, 2011 at 3:05 pm
In response to bmaz @ 74

Yes, I don’t disagree about the underlying foundation of prejudice, but I still think that prejudice tends to be personal and individualistic. White privilege reflects prjudice, but its power comes from institutional racism.

Danielle McGuire February 19th, 2011 at 3:06 pm
In response to Steven Lawson @ 71

@Steven: I’m not sure if the civil rights movement could/should be called a women’s movement. Certainly women were at the center of the struggle for civil rights. But there were plenty of men involved as well. And the movement was not just about issues related to women or gender. I do argue, however, that the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott was a women’s movement for dignity, respect, and bodily integrity. What do y’all think?

Blair Kelley February 19th, 2011 at 3:06 pm
In response to Steven Lawson @ 76

Yes. The Sherrod’s are the best of us.

Steven Lawson February 19th, 2011 at 3:07 pm
In response to Melody @ 79

To revive a sixties phrase, “Right on.”

Danielle McGuire February 19th, 2011 at 3:07 pm
In response to Steven Lawson @ 76

Well put, Steven. I agree.

Steven Lawson February 19th, 2011 at 3:10 pm

Yes and it’s a movement for dignity and respect for men as well. No one has mentioned Dr. King, which in the context of this discussion is not surprising. He held very traditional views about women (see Ella Baker) and he was mostly surrounded by men and fellow preachers. But I do think that had he lived he would have recognized the importance of gender. One of his great qualities was his capacity to enter into dialogues with all people.

mzchief February 19th, 2011 at 3:10 pm

{ Welcome Danielle, Steven, Blair and salon attendees. }

I’m very pleased for this topic to come up at The Lake by way of this salon. You’ve reconfirmed for me that the struggle for “civil rights” was really the struggle for the same basic human rights and for those human rights to be extended to all people. So it occurs to me that to label the movement as a “civil rights” initiative was a clever attempt by the status quo in power to attempt to blunt the movement and leave room for clever positioning around the concept of “separate but equal” (still insidiously alive and well today) that could be used against more than one appointed “out” group.

{ Go Wayne State! }

Danielle McGuire February 19th, 2011 at 3:11 pm
In response to Margot @ 78

@Margot: I think we start by listening more carefully to the things black women are/have been testifying about. Many of the stories I explore in the book were out there in the world–on the front pages of African-American newspapers, in letters to the NAAACP and the Justice Department, and in transcripts from oral histories. But so often they were glossed over or ignored.

Blair Kelley February 19th, 2011 at 3:11 pm

The problem of thinking the Civil Rights Movement was a women’s movement are the assumptions about what women’s political concerns might be. Black women’s concerns did not map exactly with the concerns of white women’s activism. And black women’s activism happened within the context of the larger community.

But these are big ideas, hard to type up in a few sentences. :)

Steven Lawson February 19th, 2011 at 3:12 pm

Danielle, there’s another story you tell so well and that has great importance. Who is Betty Jean Owens?

spocko February 19th, 2011 at 3:14 pm

The visualization of this story in my mind’s eye sent shivers down my spine. It almost brought tears to my eyes. I could see it as a scene in a movie about the boycott.

I’d like you to address the selection of Parks and the rejection of another woman for this action. There was a pregnant teen who also was in the same position, but someone (who?) decided she was too loud and defiant to be used.
I want people to hear this part of the story because of the understanding of the “mediagenic” nature of one person over another.

Like Jackie Robertson, the temperament of the media focal point and her history need to be taken into consideration. Today we see Glenn Beck attacking , and getting fired Van Jones. Jones color of change group was behind the advertiser alert that has cost his show millions in revenue. Obama didn’t stand up for Jones because he didn’t have a perfect background.

Blair Kelley February 19th, 2011 at 3:14 pm
In response to Steven Lawson @ 85

That’s a generous view of King… he had a very hard time changing his views of women’s activism. But I will join you in hoping that he would have revised his thinking over time.

Peterr February 19th, 2011 at 3:15 pm

Danielle, what were a couple of the things that most surprised you in all the listening you did for this book?

Melody February 19th, 2011 at 3:15 pm
In response to TalkingStick @ 65

Please do! Your memories and testimony are what great historians like Danielle can use to document the untold stories that we all need to hear. Oral historians, especially, are looking for people like you to interview!

I’d love to hear more of your stories. Please be in touch!

Danielle McGuire February 19th, 2011 at 3:16 pm
In response to Steven Lawson @ 85

@Steven: I agree about Dr. King. The more I read about him, the more I am in awe of him. He matured as an activist and force for human rights over time. And we can’t forget that in 1959, he spoke out against the brutal gang-rape of Betty Jean Owens in Tallahassee, Florida and threatened to appeal to the United Nations.

Melody February 19th, 2011 at 3:16 pm

Right on!

Steven Lawson February 19th, 2011 at 3:16 pm
In response to mzchief @ 86

I’m not sure I agree. Civil Rights in retrospect has a tamer connotation when compared to black power. But the movement was not tame nor was its vision limited. The folks who participated in it were comfortable calling it a struggle for civil rights. The problem is that many of those who seek to portray it do so in a way that removes its radical teeth. Remember these folks were courageous and they didn’t know how it would turn out in the Age of Apartheid

Danielle McGuire February 19th, 2011 at 3:17 pm
In response to Blair Kelley @ 88

Yes. I realize that this is a much bigger question with many complex answers.

Chana Kai Lee February 19th, 2011 at 3:17 pm

Congrats on the book, Danielle! Hi, Steven and Blair.

Steven Lawson February 19th, 2011 at 3:18 pm
In response to Blair Kelley @ 88

Yup, Blair, but maybe we should think in the plural about women’s movements.

Steven Lawson February 19th, 2011 at 3:21 pm
In response to Chana Kai Lee @ 98

Hi Chana,
Great to “hear” your voice. You of course wrote about perhaps the greatest woman “discovered” in the civil rights movement, Mrs. Fannie Lou Hamer. She as you tell it so well combated the demons of generations of sexual abuse.

mzchief February 19th, 2011 at 3:21 pm
In response to Steven Lawson @ 96

You wrote:

“The problem is that many of those who seek to portray it do so in a way that removes its radical teeth. Remember these folks were courageous and they didn’t know how it would turn out in the Age of Apartheid

Thank you for your response. I totally agree with your statement. You did a better job of enunciating the ideas than I did! :)

Blair Kelley February 19th, 2011 at 3:22 pm
In response to Steven Lawson @ 99

Yes, I love the plural. Perhaps there are multiple movements, intersecting, working in concert sometimes, with different aims and ideas at other moments.

Steven Lawson February 19th, 2011 at 3:23 pm

Danielle, please tell us more about Betty Jean Owens, who is still very much alive.

Blair Kelley February 19th, 2011 at 3:24 pm
In response to Chana Kai Lee @ 98

Hey Chana! Glad you are here!

Danielle McGuire February 19th, 2011 at 3:26 pm
In response to Steven Lawson @ 89

@Steven:
Betty Jean Owens was brutally gang raped by four white men in Tallahassee, Florida, in 1959. She was a college student at Florida A&M University. When students at FAMU heard that Owens was kidnapped and raped, they launched a protest to demand a trial. Owens’s assailants were essentially caught in the act and confessed to raping her. They believed they would not get in any trouble. They were, in fact, more concerned about what would happen to their car when they were hauled off to jail. Anyway, Owens found the courage to testify against them in a Jim Crow courtroom that denied her humanity. Her testimony helped secure four life sentences for the men, which was a first for the South, and (I think) the United States.

She is still alive and is still traumatized by the attack. In fact, the Tallahassee Democrat will be running a story tomorrow about her and about the importance of her testimony in 1959.

I should note that at least three of her assailants are still alive as well. None of them served out their sentences–all were paroled after about 5 years.

Blair Kelley February 19th, 2011 at 3:27 pm
In response to Steven Lawson @ 96

And civil rights and black power can’t be so easily outlined. Rosa Parks was raised in a Garveyite household and supported Robert Williams, who was certainly a person who represented the intersection of both movements.

Danielle McGuire February 19th, 2011 at 3:28 pm
In response to Steven Lawson @ 100

Hi Chana! I second Steven’s comments. In fact, it was your work on Hamer that got me thinking seriously about the role of sexual violence in the movement and throughout American history.

Danielle McGuire February 19th, 2011 at 3:28 pm
In response to Blair Kelley @ 102

I totally agree. There are many civil rights movements, not just “the” civil rights movement.

Chana Kai Lee February 19th, 2011 at 3:29 pm

Yeah, the Betty Jean Owens/Tallahassee chapter seemed to be a real turning point in the history you lay out. Actually I think chapters 5 and 6 really sort of mark historical space differently in the book than do the earlier chapters. By that I mean chronology and theme really merge in a noticeable way. I got a real sense of a turning point in those chapters. I think it has something to do with both the quality and quantity of source material. You handle the court testimony so powerfully. I had to put it down. Made me sad and angry. (Hey back, Steven!)

Steven Lawson February 19th, 2011 at 3:29 pm
In response to Blair Kelley @ 91

Between us and all those watching, although we know more about King than any other figure in the civil rights movement, I believe that he is the most misunderstood. But that’probably for another time.

Danielle McGuire February 19th, 2011 at 3:31 pm
In response to Peterr @ 92

@Peterr:

The biggest single “surprise” was in the Alabama Department of Archives and History in Montgomery. That’s where I found concrete evidence connecting Rosa Parks and Recy Taylor, and showing that the Committee for Equal Justice for Mrs. Recy Taylor in 1944 was the kernel that eleven years later became the Montgomery Improvement Association, launched the bus boycott and lifted Martin Luther King, Jr. to world-historical status. I was completely shocked to find Parks’s petitions and postcards demanding justice for Taylor, because it had never been part of the story. It made me rethink what I thought I knew about Rosa Parks and helped me begin to think about the bus boycott in a new way.

I am still surprised and saddened by the alarming regularity of white on black rape in the segregated South. When I first started this research twelve years ago, I was focused on the 1959 attack on Betty Jean Owens in Tallahassee. I really didn’t think I’d find other cases. But once I began searching, I found similar stories everywhere I looked.

Steven Lawson February 19th, 2011 at 3:31 pm
In response to Blair Kelley @ 106

Of course it’s not either/or. They do overlaps and are interconnected but I guess I am struck more by differences than similarities.

Danielle McGuire February 19th, 2011 at 3:33 pm
In response to Steven Lawson @ 110

I agree. I think that’s why I feel like I’m always rediscovering him whenever I read a new book biography or monograph about him.

Blair Kelley February 19th, 2011 at 3:34 pm
In response to Chana Kai Lee @ 109

I agree, the story has a tremendous impact there. And I had to put the book down there too. The best work makes you do that.

Danielle McGuire February 19th, 2011 at 3:35 pm
In response to Chana Kai Lee @ 109

@Chana: that chapter was the first case I worked on as a graduate student and it’s the one that is still probably the most resonant for me. What I’ve found out about her and her case since the book was published is both heart-wrenching and inspiring.

Steven Lawson February 19th, 2011 at 3:35 pm

Danielle, many messages ago, “spocko” asked: “I’d like you to address the selection of Parks and the rejection of another woman for this action. There was a pregnant teen who also was in the same position, but someone (who?) decided she was too loud and defiant to be used.
I want people to hear this part of the story because of the understanding of the “mediagenic” nature of one person over another.” Can you tell us about Claudette Colvin?

Chana Kai Lee February 19th, 2011 at 3:35 pm

I actually like Troy Jackson’s BECOMING KING. I think it is way underrated.

Steven Lawson February 19th, 2011 at 3:37 pm
In response to Chana Kai Lee @ 117

Thanks for saying this. The book is part of a series I co-edit for the University of Kentucky Press.

Danielle McGuire February 19th, 2011 at 3:38 pm
In response to Blair Kelley @ 114

Thank you.

I’ve wondered what it is like reading the book all at once for the first time. I have heard a lot of people tell me they had to put it down–read it only when it was sunny outside etc. I worked on it for so long and feel like I had more time to absorb these painful stories.

Blair Kelley February 19th, 2011 at 3:42 pm

I know what you mean, I was surprised when people said my book made them sad, I had recovered from the impact years ago and because so focused on importance of bringing the history to readers. It was hard to think about what it might be like to learn it for the first time, or to see the history in a new way.

Teddy Partridge February 19th, 2011 at 3:42 pm

Thank you for this important book. I hope it further expands our understanding of the civil rights movement in America, and the key role women played in it. Rape is a violent tool in the warriors’ arsenal; knowing how rape was used in our own country will go a long way toward comprehending its current use elsewhere.

Steven Lawson February 19th, 2011 at 3:44 pm

Danielle, it has occurred to me that since white rape of black women was so widespread, what made particular communities ready to organize campaigns to support victims of rape when their attackers were on trial, whereas others did not?

Blair Kelley February 19th, 2011 at 3:46 pm

Great point Teddy. Danielle, this point makes me think about the reports of rape in Egypt and the racial tropes deployed to talk about the violence. What did you think?

mzchief February 19th, 2011 at 3:48 pm
In response to Blair Kelley @ 106

This might be very confusing to younger folks who weren’t of age and participating in that history. However, when it comes to arts and media, I think many younger folks today really identify with what I believe you are identifying as an aspect of the Black Power Movement. A recent media example I perceived was the participation in the New York gubernatorial run by Jimmy McMillian (e.g. video “The Rent Is Too Damn High Party’s Jimmy McMillan at the NY Governor Debate“). I saw folks have not one clue about his presentation and rhetorical style. Therefore, he was totally dissed or marginalized in the process which played well for the status quo political folks. But he was very serious in his message that the political priority of any candidate who purported to serve the public was that the basic, common needs of everyone should be the fundamental platform– shelter, food, clothing and their ability to participate in the economy in some basic way.

PeasantParty February 19th, 2011 at 3:50 pm
In response to mzchief @ 124

Excellent Point! We often quote him here at FDL!

Danielle McGuire February 19th, 2011 at 3:50 pm
In response to Steven Lawson @ 116

Thanks for reminding me to pick up that question, Steven. I knew there was someone I had ignored!

Claudette Colvin was arrested in the spring of 1955 for refusing to give up her seat to a white person on a Montgomery city bus. She was a high school senior and was about 15 years old. She was beaten and manhandled by police and thrown into a squad car. She was calm, however, and the stories about her being foul-mouthed or out of control are not supported by the evidence.

Jo Ann Robinson and other women in the Women’s Political Council were ready to boycott the buses and thought that the Colvin arrest was a perfect opportunity to launch a protest. Robinson went to see E.D. Nixon, who was one of the most important activists in town, and asked for his support. He went to visit Colvin and discovered that she was pregnant. Her mother said, “my daughter done took a tumble.” Nixon went back to the Women’s Political Council and told them that Colvin would not be a good symbol for the protest, nor a good litigant.
For starters, an unwed pregnant teenager might be a divisive symbol for a community where fissures of class, religion and color already presented tough challenges. Plus, she was beginning to show and her mother was ashamed to have her appear in public. But just as troubling for Nixon, Colvin was darker-skinned and came from a working-class background which made her a liability in certain parts of the black community. Colvin’s mother was a maid and her father did yard work. They lived in one of the poorest sections of town. Nixon argued that “she’s not the kind we can win a case with…I’m not going to go out on a limb with it,” he said. “I’ve handled so many cases that I know when a man would stand up and when he wouldn’t,” Nixon argued. “You’ve got to think of the newspapers, you got to think about public opinion, you got to think about policies and so forth, and intimidation.” And he had a point.
Even though Colvin was a straight-A student and had worked with Rosa Parks in the NAACP youth council, Nixon decided that she wasn’t “respectable” enough to be the symbol of segregation. And given the gender, race and class politics of the time (not to mention the brutal white backlash unleashed by the 1954 Brown decision), he was probably right. Unfortunately, civil rights “leaders” had to perform this kind of cruel triage all the time.

Steven Lawson February 19th, 2011 at 3:51 pm
In response to mzchief @ 124

Reminds me of Jesse Gray and his NYC rent strike campaigns in the 1960s. He was dismissed and demonized as well.

Danielle McGuire February 19th, 2011 at 3:52 pm

@Teddy: thanks. Yes, we often think about the ways rape is used as a weapon of terror overseas–in Bosnia, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Africa etc.—we don’t think it happened here.

Steven Lawson February 19th, 2011 at 3:53 pm

There were rumors that she was pregnant. Were those false?

Danielle McGuire February 19th, 2011 at 3:54 pm
In response to Steven Lawson @ 122

@Steven:

Without pressure from African Americans and their allies on both the local and national level, there may not have been any court hearings at all.

Organizers and activists often rallied behind women who spoke out. When they made decisions about launching campaigns, they did so based on local circumstances—the threat of white retaliatory violence, the potential for justice, the ability and willingness of local organizations like the NAACP to provide support, publicity and much needed funds, the strength and character of the victim and her family, and so on. Every town in every state was different. And every year brought new opportunities or setbacks for equality.

Steven Lawson February 19th, 2011 at 3:54 pm

Danielle, I see that the time limit is fast approaching. I wonder if you could answer this last question from me: Given their sensitve, personal nature, have you encountered any criticism for bringing these stories into light?

Blair Kelley February 19th, 2011 at 3:55 pm

The NAACP’s legal defense fund lawyers did that kind of calculus all the time too. But I believe questions of class, color, and respectablity were always particularly focused on women.

Danielle McGuire February 19th, 2011 at 3:55 pm
In response to Steven Lawson @ 129

@Steven:

I am pretty sure they were true. In a recent interview with the Montgomery Advertiser, Colvin said that she was pregnant at the time as a result of “statutory rape”. Of course, the interviewer did not follow up with any questions.

BevW February 19th, 2011 at 3:56 pm

As we come to the end of this Book Salon,

Danielle, Thank you for stopping by the Lake and spending the afternoon with us discussing your new book and The Civil Rights Movement.

Steven, Blair, thank you for Hosting this great Book Salon.

Everyone, if you would like more information:

Dr. Danielle McGuire’s website and book

Dr. Steven Lawson’s website and lectures

Dr. Blair Kelley’s website

Thanks all,
Have a great evening!

Steven Lawson February 19th, 2011 at 3:57 pm

I’d like to say that I knew Danielle, Chana, and Blair when they were graduate students, and I am confident that the history of the Civil Rights Movement and the Black Freedom Struggle is in good hands for the future. They will tell a more complicated story than my older generation of historians did.

Danielle McGuire February 19th, 2011 at 3:58 pm
In response to Steven Lawson @ 131

@Steven:
Not really—most of the people I talk to are grateful the story is finally being told. There will always be some folks who are uncomfortable talking about the horrors of our past, especially sexual and racial violence. And I can understand that. But I think we need to confront our history honestly. Sexual violence was a critical part of the subjugation of African Americans in the South—in fact, it is endemic to systems of caste throughout world history. We can try to pretend that these brutal crimes did not happen, but they did. Many of the survivors I write about are still alive. Their assailants are still around—some are in jail, but most are free. For them, the past is, as William Faulkner put it, “not even past.” Some will undoubtedly think that retelling the rape stories is lurid and unnecessary, that it reifies the violence. But I cannot silence women today whose voices were so powerful and important then. In many ways, I am just offering them a megaphone. And I think it’s time we listen.

Blair Kelley February 19th, 2011 at 3:58 pm
In response to Steven Lawson @ 135

Thanks! We’re all building on an amazing groundwork. :)

Chana Kai Lee February 19th, 2011 at 3:58 pm

Thanks, Steven.:-) Thanks, Danielle and Blair. Good night.

Steven Lawson February 19th, 2011 at 3:59 pm
In response to BevW @ 134

Thanks and once I got the hang of the technology I very much enjoyed the conversation.

mzchief February 19th, 2011 at 3:59 pm
In response to Steven Lawson @ 127

Maybe that was part of the inspiration for Jimmy McMillian? When I saw McMillian, I thought, Holy Smokes, I think I’m looking at a Black Panther Party member and I thought, Right On!

Thanks everybody for a great salon! :)

Blair Kelley February 19th, 2011 at 3:59 pm

See I want to tweet that, but that’s way too long. Thanks for having me, great discussion.

Danielle McGuire February 19th, 2011 at 3:59 pm
In response to BevW @ 134

What a wonderful opportunity to talk about these important issues that we are still grappling with. Thank you to Firedoglake.com, to Steven Lawson and Blair Kelley, and to everyone who contributed to the discussion. It was great chatting with you.

spocko February 19th, 2011 at 4:01 pm

Thanks for repeating Claudette Colvin’s story. She was also very brave and I always want people to hear about her. It’s like when lawyers are looking for test cases they try to find the best candidate to win the case. And if you find out a
Candidate will not fit the bill the cause can look for someone who is better and have they do the same action with appropriate prep.

Danielle McGuire February 19th, 2011 at 4:01 pm
In response to Blair Kelley @ 141

Thank you! And thanks for taking time out on a Saturday night during dinner, bedtime for kids etc.!
My little ones have been amazingly well-behaved for two hours.

PeasantParty February 19th, 2011 at 4:01 pm

Thank you both very much. We still have hurdles to jump this day and age and everything we learn helps us along.

Danielle McGuire February 19th, 2011 at 4:02 pm
In response to Chana Kai Lee @ 138

Thanks for joining the conversation, Chana. I look forward to seeing you sometime in the near future!

Danielle McGuire February 19th, 2011 at 4:05 pm
In response to spocko @ 143

@spocko: you are welcome. There were too many cases and too few resources. And every time someone volunteered to be a “test” case, they placed themselves and their loved ones at great risk. Sometimes the victims scratched out shaky lives among the downtrodden that could easily be caricatured to discredit them. sometimes the cases were heart-wrenching but hopeless from a legal standpoint, given the realities of judicial practices in a hard racial caste sytem. finding the right combination of strong documentation, brave witness, sympathetic victims and legal resources was very difficult.

Danielle McGuire February 19th, 2011 at 4:06 pm

Good night!

posaune February 19th, 2011 at 6:02 pm
In response to Peterr @ 43

I heard this story about Constance Baker Motley from a law firm in NY that did labor law for a couple generations (Vladeck Waldman). It seems that Connie Baker worked at the Inc Fund diligently with complete dedication on Brown vs. Board of Ed. but when it came down to the filings, she was not allowed to include her name. She never forgot about Houston’s & Marshall’s decision regarding her name.

Lorraine Watkins February 19th, 2011 at 6:06 pm
In response to Melody @ 93

Melody, I had to leave. I tried to friend you but am not certain how that works. If you come back to check here is my email address talkingstick at windstream dot net.

jaango February 20th, 2011 at 8:00 am

Unfortunately, I have not read this book, but I will put it on my “to be purchased list” of books. Therefore, this post may not be entirely on point, but then, I much prefer to “look to” the Future and not to the past since I don’t “qualify” as a Notable Historian, but I’m thoroughly familiar with my 50,000 history of this Indigenous Hemisphere. Further, I personaify and perpetuate the Native American/Chicano Construct.

As such, the critical point made about the civil rights leaders shying away from the violence visited on African American women, and any discussion pertaining the the physical and mental trauma continues to this day. And perhaps, a follow-on book for this intrepid author, should focus on the Dineh Society or as the more publicly recognized. the Rez here in Arizona and in particular, the Navajo Nation.

Take, for example, the majority of rapes on the Rez are done by whites, either passing through or vising the Rez, and which creates a dilemma for the victim. Consequently, the legal and political systemic becomes one for the FBI, Tribal Police, and the law enforcement agencies that are adjacent to the Rez, and their intramural spat for control and where this control leads to nothing being accomplished other than becoming another statistic in the law enforcement data base. Subsequently, the victim is virtually tossed into the trash bin of history.

In closing, my view of American politics remains unchanged. To wit, on the one hand, we have a systemic for “empowering industries” and on the other hand, we have cavalierly dismissed the notional for “empowering the individual”. Moreover, if we are going to manifest a systemic for the Future for “empowering the individual” that requires that we make available to the victim the tools necessary to address both the physical and mental trauma, as well, as providing the requisite tools necessary for the victim to achieve Justice for this assualt on the victim and to include the society at large. And thusly, this puts the onus on Democratic women to come forward on how this “empowering” has to take place since the males, like myself, will not address this toxic environment and of course, it’s far easier to leave it to the experts, than accepting our respunsibililty and duty to develop a serious case of “heavy lifting” in support of our fellow citizens.

Jaango

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