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At the dark end of the street: Black women, rape, and resistance-A new history of the civil rights movement from Rosa Parks to Black power by Danielle L. McGuire

I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in learning how the origins of the civil rights movement lay in the women-led struggle to obtain justice for Black women who were victims of sexual violence in the south by White men. While reading this book, I felt like I had been lied to my whole life. Neither in school nor in any of the history books I read, did I learn that Black women’s struggle for justice for Black women began the modern civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s. In particular, Rosa Parks, a leader in this struggle, has had her anti-rape organizing completely erased. The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks is now next on my list to read, so that I can learn more about this amazing freedom fighter. One of the main takeaways from this book for me, is that Black women have always led the struggle for justice for Black women, and we continue to do this today. I hope that in 50 years when young people are learning about the Black Lives Matter movement, that the leadership of Black women is not erased.

 

This Nonviolent Stuff’ll Get You Killed: How Guns Made the Civil Rights Movement Possible by Charles E. Cobb Jr.

A common judgment of the rebellions that have arisen in our current black liberation movement is the insufferable question: what would MLK think about all this rioting? Many people also like to create memes that juxtapose photos of current protests with photos of civil rights marches in the 1960s, with the marchers immaculately dressed and being “nonviolent.”  Charles E. Cobb Jr. explores the nuances of the nonviolent civil rights movement that are often ignored by people who seek to find fault with the tactics of today’s youth activists. While many civil rights organizations publicly committed to nonviolent civil disobedience, others did not. There was much disagreement within the movement, particularly in the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), about nonviolence. Young Black people who traveled to the deep south to engage in movement work such as voter registration, stayed with Black families who protected not only themselves, but also the organizers, with guns. Many movement leaders also owned guns, including Dr. King, although most did not carry them to marches and other acts of civil disobedience. Violence by White people in retaliation for Black people daring to assert their humanity was real, vicious, and deadly. In my opinion, even more activists would’ve been killed and the movement stalled, if it wasn’t for Black southerners organizing to keep people safe.

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