tv Book TV CSPAN November 7, 2010 10:00am-11:00am EST
the conflicts are between society and science and how they get resolved. so in the last section the reason i moved some of those issues out is i want today spent some time talking about how we publish our work, how the stem o cell controversyur arose, how we are approaching the developmenty of science and better health ing poor countries and those all became sectored out as essays that address in greater depth than i could have done in a narrative about myself issues that all scientists must thinkhe about.rrat .. >> your mom had breast cancer and i want you to tell how that influenced you as a researcher and scientist. >> certainly was an influence. i was at the nih working on the genetics of bacteria. i learned that model organisms like bacteria can to just about him in disease but also as a doctor and a son with a mother
battling this is the use i wanted to feel it was somewhat more connected to the problem. i don't think that was the only reason, not that they chose to do work about cancer, but i saw an opportunity in my thinking about cancer as a problem mainly we didn't understand how a normal cell became a cancer cell and there were a couple new tools having to do with how we measure dna and rna, some with viruses that cause cancer in animals that led me to believe this huge medical problem that affected my family would be amenable to some solutions by taking advantage of these opportunities to do interesting science. >> this is based on lectures you gave in 2004 at the new york public library. tell us about those and how did they morph into the book? >> that's a fun question. a famous biographer friend of
mine asked me to give those lectures and i didn't read the fine printing. the norton elections, then i saw norton sponsoring the letter signed a contract with me and i had to turn them into a book and i thought we published the electors but if anyone finds out when they tried to turn them into a book three don't make a book so i then labored away. i was fairly busy running memorials cancer center in but i found the time after four years to take the lectures as a starting point and write a whole lot more, go into up about issues i found interesting. the process was good, it was just hard at times but i am very glad now that i was given the contract which i signed without fully appreciating the implications iraq the book is called the art and politics of science, thd
>> the life of civil rights activist rosa parks is discussed in danielle mcguire's new book, "at the dark end of the street." the decatur library in decatur hosts the our events. >> good evening, everyone. i'm bill starr, executive director of the georgia center for the book. and we are the hosts for this evening's program we welcome all of you. rosa parks is one of the truly iconic figures of the civil rights movement. we know her as the older, quiet woman who's tired feet later to defy segregation on montgomery, alabama,'s bus is back in 1955. her courageous spontaneous refusal to give up her seat to a white man sparked the bus boycott which gave birth to an entire movement. that's what we've been told up
until now. but do we really know rosa parks? and the answer according to our guest this evening is very definitely no. we welcome to the center for the book tonight doctor daniel mcguire, assistant professor of history at wayne state university in detroit. her new book is at the dark end of the street -- "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." results also just the book does not shed new light on rosa parks in the beginnings of the civil rights movement. it offers us nothing less than a new way of approaching and understanding both the woman's history and the underpinning of civil rights movement. it is a scholarly yet riveting narrative that traces a sordid history of sexual violence, directed at against lack women in the jim crow era, and
illuminates how the little known actions of rosa parks long before the bus boycott help create the impetus for civil rights movement. estoria nell irvin painter says that doctor mcguire's book is quote details all to ignore tactic of rape of black women in everyday practice of southern white supremacy, just as important. she plots resistance against this outrage an integral fact of the civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s. her book is as essential as history is infuriating. please join me in welcoming doctor danielle mcguire. [applause] >> thank you so much. thank you especially to the georgia senate book for inviting here and for the decatur public library for hosting us tonight. and, of course, to all of you for bring with me through this presentation.
i'm thrilled that you're here tonight. in 1944, a black woman named recy taylor walked home from a church revival. a car load of white men kidnapped her off the street, drove her to the woods, and brutally gang raped her. when they finished, they dropped her off in the middle of town, and they threaten to kill her if she told anyone what happened. but that night she told her father, her husband, and the local sheriff the details of the brutal assault. a few days later the montgomerie naacp called to say they were sitting there very best investigator. her name was rosa parks. it was 11 years before the montgomery bus boycott. and 11 years later this homegrown activists would be a note as the montgomerie funding its president dr. martin the king junior to international prominence and launching a
movement that would ultimately change the world. rosa parks carried her story back to montgomery where she and sees those militant activists organized national and international protest for equal justice for mrs. recy taylor. they call it the strongest campaign for equal justice to be seen in a decade. but when the coalition first took root, that would later become the montgomery improvement association, dr. king was still in high school. in 1955 the montgomery bus boycott was in many ways the last act of a decade-long struggle to protect african-american women like recy taylor from sexualized violence and rape. in fact, the kidnapping and rape of recy taylor was not unusual in the segregated south. from slavery to the better part of the 20th century, white men
abducted and assaulted black women with alarming regularity, and often. they look black women and girls away from work with promises of steady pay and better wages. they attacked him on the job, they objected them at gunpoint while traveling to and from home, work, or church. and essentially humiliated, harassed and assaulted them on buses, in theaters, and other places of public space. this is a pattern throughout the south during the 1940s and the 1950s, and underscored the limit of southern justice. but black women did not keep their stories secret. they reclaim their humanity by testifying about these brutal assaults, and a testaments often lead to larger campaigns for civil rights and human dignity. in fact, even the most often old and campaigns for civil rights, montgomery, birmingham, phil
mudd, the 1964 freedom summer in mississippi. they often have an unexamined history of gender political skills to protect women from sexual violence. now, most of you here tonight probably know something about the montgomery bus boycott. according to popular history, who and what caused the boycott? anyone? [inaudible] >> rosa parks. what was it about rosa parks? [inaudible] >> pardon me? [inaudible] >> what caused her to decide -- defied the rules on the bus. tired feet, that's right. she had tired feet. when asked the same question, the former editor of the montgomery advertiser talked about somebody else did he talk to gertrude perkins. here's what he had to say. gertrude perkins is not even mentioned in the history books. she had as much to do with the bus boycott and its creation as
anyone on earth. >> now, gertrude perkins loomed large in his mind to remember four years after the fact when he gave this interview. yet most issues of the bus boycott failed to even mention her name. and if you're any like me when hearing this, you're like, who the heck is gertrude perkins? well, gertrude perkins, an african-american woman, 25 years old, was abducted and assaulted by two white montgomery police officers on march 27, 1949. i'll let reverend explain what happened that night. >> two policemen had picked it up and her down on the railroad, and had all types of sex relations with her at that particular time. when they put her out, she came to my door. she told me what had happened to
her. i sat down and wrote what she said had happened to her. word by word. when she had finished, i had it notarized and senate to a group years and in washington. andrew pearson went to the air with it. gertrude perkins said, it was all over the nation. >> after gertrude perkins told reverend seay what happened, she somehow mustered the courage to report the crime to police, perhaps even the same in who had raped her. the please dismissed her claim and accused her of lying. the mayor claimed her charge was quoted completely false. and he said holding a line or issuing any warrants would set a bad precedence. besides, he said, my policemen
would not do a thing like that. but lacks in montgomery knew better. montgomery police force had a reputation for rapists and sexual brutality. in fact, a few years earlier police had abducted and raped a 16 year old daughter of a black woman who challenge a police officer on a bus one day. as word of the attack on train seven spread, club women come into lazy to activists, labour leaders and ministers rallied to her defense. they formed an umbrella organization called the citizens committee for a troop perkins and the demand an investigation and the trial. their public protest garnered enough attention to keep the story on the front pages of the white daily newspaper, the montgomery advertiser, for nearly two months. for sustained attention finally force a grand jury hearing where gertrude perkins testified on her own behalf. the county solicitor support her and accused her of lying. she maintain her composure.
her brave testimony did not impact the all white, all male jury, however, who failed to ignite any of the officers. in an editorial designed to put any hard feelings to rest, the montgomery advertiser said, the case for the full process of our anglo-saxon system of justice. what more could have been done? members of the citizens committee for gutta-percha and would have preferred an indictment and a lengthy jail sentence but they were thrilled when the amount of public protest that the campaign had yielded. but montgomery seem to have more of its fair share of what it welcomes called sex cases. in fact, the recy taylor and gertrude cases did not occur in isolation. in february 1951 and white grocery store owner named sam green raped a black teenager. green had employed her as a
babysitter and frequently drove her home after her shift. one night he pulled to the side of a quiet road and raped her. that night she went home, she told her parents what happened, and they decided to press charges. when all white jury returned a not guilty verdict after delivery for only five minutes, the family reached out to lewis, a world war two veteran and celebrated football coach at alabama state university. lewis, along with nixon who is head of the montgomery naacp and head of the alabama brotherhood of car porters, they organize a campaign to boycott green's store. they brought together women's groups like the women's clinical council, laborers unions, perhaps even the same people that organized to defend recy taylor. after only a few weeks african-americans delivered their own verdict in the case. by driving green into the red.
in fact, they shut down greens grocery store, and that ability shutdown his grocery store constituted a major victory. not only did it established the boycott as a powerful weapon for justice, but it also sent a message to whites and african-americans would no longer allow white men to disrespect, abuse and violate black women's bodies. besides police officers, few were as guilty of these crimes as were the city's bus operators, who bullied and brutalize black passengers daily. worst, bus drivers had police power. they carried blackjacks and often guns, and they assaulted and sometimes even kill african-americans who violated the racial order of jim crow. in 1953 a lone african-americans filed over 30 complaints of abuse in this treatment on the buses. most of these complaints came from black women. mostly working-class women who were domestic, who made up the bulk of the montgomery city
lines ridership. drivers from nasty sexualize insults at black women. they touched him inappropriately, and often physically abused them. one woman remembered most for resection in harassing her as she waited on the corner. the bus was up high, she said, and the street was down low. they would drive up and expose themselves while i was just standing there. it scared me to death. another remember the bus drivers treat black women just as rough as can be, she said, like some kind of animal. treatment on the buses deny black women dignity and demonstrated that they were not worthy of respect or protection. this belief is part of a long-standing pattern that allowed white men to use and abuse black women for the better part of even the 20th century. when we consider this within a spectrum of racial and sexual
violence with rate and lynching on one hand, and these daily indignities on the other, attacks on black women's bodily integrity underscores both their physical and their sexual vulnerability in a racial caste system. and so it was a much d.c. are, not to mention safer, for black women to just stop writing the buses that it was to bring their assailants, often bus drivers and police officers, to justice. in fact, without these women the bus boycott would have failed. african-american women ran the day-to-day operation of the boycott, everyday details. to help staff the 11th carpool system that kept the boycott running. they raise most of the local money for the movement. they filled the majority of the fuse at the mass meetings where they testify publicly about physical and sexual abuse on the bus. by watching hundreds of miles to process humiliation,
african-american women reclaim their bodies and demanded to be treated with dignity and respect. and so while the montgomery bus boycott is often portrayed as this is spontaneous and often male lead movement, it is important to note the montgomery bus boycott has a past. it's rooted in the -- from racial and sexual violence, and i think it's impossible for us to understand, without understanding the store of recy taylor and gertrude perkins, and the others who were mistreated in montgomery. in fact without this history it's impossible for us to understand why so many black women walked for so long to protest mistreatment on the buses. mau mau tribe was not the only place where attacks on black women you'll protest against white supremacy. civil rights campaigns in little
rock, arkansas, where gay debates, the heroine of a little rock school segregation campaign had used her newspaper for a decade to publicly shame white men who assaulted black women, or albany, georgia, in 1962 where local people organized to defend the black women at albany state college from white men, who frequently broke into the doors and crowd around campus at night. or birmingham and thelma, alabama in the early 1960s are police and bus drivers were notorious for their racist and sexist practices. mississippi during the 1964 freedom summer where black women activists who were arrested were often beaten and sexually abused while they were in prison. all these major campaigns had roots in organizers assistance to sexualize violence, gender political to defend black womanhood. all of this in spite of a growing body of literature that focuses on the rolls of black and white women and the
operation of gender movement and nasty a little or no role in most history of the african-american freedom study, even as we focused on racist violence against black and white men like emmett till and goodman, schwerner and cheney. all of these provide gripping examples of racist brutality but we ignore what happened to black women. in order to truly understand the civil rights movement, we need to understand these stories. we need to understand the history. a sexual expectation of black women of course had its roots in slavery. slave owners so access to black women's body strengthen their political, their social, and the economic power really for two reasons. one is that colonial laws made the offspring of slave women are property of their master, giving slaveowners a financial incentive to abuse their slaves. and, two, colonial laws that banned interracial rage --
marriage awarded white men and exclusive access to black and white women while denying black women the respectability and rights granted i a legal relationship. these laws created a system that allowed white men to treat white women sexual in america choices, and sexually abuse black women with impunity. both of which maintain white men's position on top, a political and economic power structure. after slavery fell, these practices often remained. for example, during reconstruction former slave holders and their sympathizers use violence to reassert control over free people. in fact, race became a weapon of terror and interracial rape became the battleground upon which black men and women thought for ownership and control of their very own bodies. and so interracial rations deployed a justification for
black men who violate any aspect of the race status quo can't even though they're often accused of attacking white women. and so in order to maintain power and control, whites created the myth of the black, the incubus, portraying them as a beast that attacked white women while they slept. they used this image whenever they fear of losing power here for example, white democrats in north carolina use the image of the incubus in 1900 to regain political control after the biracial fusion party took every single statewide office in 1898. black club women like i did the wells testing i did the wells -- a larger system of intimidation. worse, she argued they did this to mask their own barbarism and attacked on black women. she knew that white men attacked
black women and almost ritualistic fashion throughout the jim crow era. now, black women were victimized, to be sure, but at the dark industry, and was not just about victimization. many black women who were raped or assaulted thought back by speaking out. from the slave narratives at jacobs, to ida b. wells to gertrude perkins, african-american women a net denounce their sexual misuse deploy their voices as weapons in the wars against white supremacy. but for every woman that spoke out, there were undoubtedly many more who kept these brutal attacks to themselves. silence could be a useful strategy. especially when whites sure otherwise frenzied. african-american leaders embrace the respectability and hugely culture of silence as a matter
of political investing during the brutal white backlash unleashed for the 1954 supreme court decision outlawing segregation in public schools. for many supporters of segregation, integration always meant miscegenation, or as mississippi judge and founder of the white citizens council, tom brady, put it, about commission. headlined in the citizens council newspaper warned whites that the incubus. missed marriage, sex and accounts of black men waiting right girls will quote typical of stories filtering back from areas where racial integration is proceeding with all deliberate need. in fact, to the citizens council leader espousing these theories. >> don't you ever give up that job. that's all you got to protect the little baby in that crib. because these dirty devils will be in your home.
that's what they want. they do not want equality. you know they don't want equality. they don't want something like you've got. they want what you've got, your women. >> because segregation is employed sexual scare tactics, particularly the black beach rape is, to radical the resentment toward immigration, any gender or break of impropriety on the part of african-americans could be viewed as threatening the social order. this is why african is why african-americans in montgomery chose rosa parks as a symbol of the movement instead of many other black women who could have easily filled that role. and so while silence was used at times for political reasons, its near universal adoption among scholars, despite evidence to the contrary, created a void in historical record eric by assuming silence, historians
have missed important milestones in the civil rights movement that i hope my work captures. for example, the arrest, trial and conviction of four white men for raping a black college student in tallahassee, florida, in 1959 was a watershed event. the willingness of her to testify against her s&s focused national attention on the sexual exploits ocean of black women at the hand of white men. when an all white jury handed down a life sentence, it not only broke with southern tradition, it fractured the philosophical and political foundations of white supremacy i challenging the legal relationship based on those colonial laws that i mentioned earlier between sexual domination and racial inequality. for perhaps the first time since reconstruction, southern blacks
could imagine state power been deployed in defense of their own personhood. betty jean owens grandmother recognize the importance of this historic decision. she said, i've lived to see the day where white men really could be brought to trial for what they did. the tallahassee case led to convictions elsewhere that summer in the coming alabama, and robyn on carolina, and in burton south carolina where a white marine actually received the death penalty for raping a black woman. that's the first one i found and it was overturned on appeal. but in each cage, white supremacy falters in the fate of the greatest black woman who testified on their own behalf. john mcrae, the editor of south carolina's white house and former newspaper wondered if these convictions pointed to a new day. this fourth intimacy he said
goes back to the day of slavery when our women with a cattle property of white men. are we now witnessing the arrival the cray recognize that freedom was meaningless without ownership and control of their own body. desegregation and equality meant little if you could not walk down the street unmolested. ella baker put it a year later, the freedom struggle was bigger than a hamburger. as a result the 1959 how has the case was a major civil rights milestone. i 1965 case in hattiesburg, mississippi, was another milestone that historians have missed. here's a clip of the testimony of a black women girls sexual vulnerability in the segregated south. >> i went to babysit for this white family, and the white
woman called me upstairs. i went on upstairs in a hurry so as not to keep the white woman waiting. she said he wants to see you. and i look in the bed, mr. long was laying the among the bedclothes. they were so filthy. and i said, yes, sir. mr. long, what do what with me? 80 nearly pulled me down into the bed and had intercourse with me. it was as though, i was 11 years old that day, it was my birthday. there was no reason for us to run to our mother or father because they could do anything about it. many times we girls will talk in the bathroom about it, you know. never telling our family them but it happened very, very frequently. >> the tenuousness of black lies
in the mississippi left more than physical scars. it also left deep psychological wounds -- psychological wounds. >> i hated that. i was fascinated by people like david and goliath stories. my favorite biblical characters. i like moses drowning everybody in the red sea. i used to go in the woods but i used to go in the backwoods and preach, and scream, fight them, run into bushes, kick trees, pretend they with white folks. >> so, you learn how to negotiate your life with white folks. and yet you also learn the fear of associate with them of how much power they actually have
over you, having to determine whether you could live or whether you died. >> after more than two decades of black women spray testimony in mississippi, a community effort to protect them from white sexual violence, and all white jury finally sentenced norman gannon, in 19 your white men, to life in prison for raping a black teenager in 1965. major newspapers hailed the conviction as a sign that even mississippi was finally making serious changes. like the montgomery movement, in 1965 thelma campaign has histo history. after the 1964 freedom summer, federal intervention and congressional action on behalf of african-americans left segregationists reeling. in thelma, alabama, they use the
fear of interracial sex and the rhetoric of rape to resuscitate and revive jim crow. and they use the kind of sexual mccarthyism to discredit the voting rights act, defend the demonstrators who risk their lives and the thelma, alabama march. civil rights activist were no longer outside agitators or communists. now they were sexual themes that intent on spreading a culture of depravity around the country. and so it was within that storm, and because of it, that the ku klux klan murdered viola, a white house wife from detroit who defy gender and racial mores by embracing the black freedom struggle. our detractors of course accuse her of embracing black men. now if we incorporate race and sexual violence into well-known civil rights narratives we change the historical markers of
the movement. while the voting rights act is often referenced as the book in of the civil rights movement, one of the last legal barriers of black women's bodily integrity fell in 1967 when the supreme court banned laws prohibiting interracial marriage in a landmark loving versus virginia decision. this law was rooted in those colonial area air laws that i mentioned earlier and so the ban on interracial marriage is one of the last vestiges of slavery to fall. but only by placing the loving decision within the long struggle for black women's bodily integrity and freedom from racial and sexual terror, can't be properly recognized as a major marker in the civil rights movement. now, the right of black women to defend themselves from sexual violence was tested in a 1975 trial of joann little. joann little was a 20 year-old african-american inmate in the
guilford county jail in washington north carolina. one night in august of 1974 clarence ali good, 62 old chair, entered her cell. he allegedly threatened her with an ice pick and sex are assaulted or. during the attack, little somehow managed to grab the ice pick from all the good and proceeded to stab him to death. as little prepared for trial for murder, a broad coalition supporter from the national organization of women to the black panther party rallied to her defense. the free joann little movement. ecliptic organization that for protected recy taylor in 1944. like the committee for equal justice for mrs. recy taylor, the free joann little of it was led primarily by african-american women. and i'll say this, in detroit, the free joann little movement was led by rosa parks.
at her trial defense attorneys try to paint little as a typical black jezebel, they attacked the credibility and they were traitors as a prostitute. they suggested little wanted to have sex with the jailer that she seduced him and then kill them and elaborate plot to escape. levels of turning the other hand put her store into a much longer context. he read to the jury a long passage from african-american woman's 190 to sa declined the lack of protection of black womanhood and a special vulnerability in the system for white men could use them regularly. by reading this passage aloud, and pointing to decades of abuse in the past, he bore witness to black women's long-standing tradition of testimony and their attempt for dignity. after deliberating for over an hour, the jury unanimously voted
to a quick joann little of murder. as the jury for men read the verdict, little broke into sobs at the defense table as her lawyers clustered around her. wiping away tears and perhaps channeling john mcrae, who in 1959 wanted a black woman had finally achieved a masturbation, she said, it feels good to be free. now, this cartoon and the baltimore african-american hailed the verdict as a major victory. here little is portrayed as a champion boxer standing atop a bruised and battered jim crow. hosting littles gloves fit into the air her attorney proclaiming victory for the chance and a triumph over jim crow racism. with stars flowing around his head, looking tired and kind of overweight,, is finally down for the count.
to fully understand the role of gender, and sexuality in the civil rights movement, and if we're going to provide what now painter called a truly loaded cost accounting, of white supremacy, then we've got to include analyses of sexual violence and rape, testimony, and protest that really remained at the volatile core of the modern civil rights. thank you for coming tonight. [applause] >> i guess now we have and the sound. -- and it sounds. >> right here.
>> what was it that catch onto this research in the beginning? tells a story about it? >> great question that it was 1998 and i was a master stood at the university of wisconsin, and i was helping my professor clean his office. i guess that's what i got paid to do as an assistant. and we listening to npr and we heard them talk about gertrude perkins on npr. and i just stopped my tracks and i said then what i said to tonight, who the heck is gertrude perkins. and it was so shocking to me that he thought she had something to do with the montgomery bus boycott, this woman in 1949, that i felt compelled to go to the archives and dig up old newspapers and read about gertrude perkins. and so i found the story, and they didn't really know what to do with it. it was right the first great that i found about this issue of sexual violence in the south.
and there was no way to connect it to the montgomery bus boycott at the time. there was no context. so i put it aside, and didn't know what to do with it. and a couple months later i was working on this tallahassee case. my professor had stumbled across it in researching a book about robert williams, a militant naacp leader in north carolina. he said this is an interesting story, why don't you look at this. i said okay. and i started to look into the case and decided, i did that for a master's thesis. and again i put it aside. i finish my masters and went to work for two years, and didn't know what to do with it. when i came back to graduate school a couple years later i said, there's got to be more to this. it can't just be an outlier. i've read about this stuff being -- happening in slater. i don't know if this happened during the period. so let me look into it. i started reading black newspapers. the front page of the black
newspapers had the stories plastered all over them. and i was just shocked as the graduates did that i've been reading all these civil rights history books, and none of them talk about what was on the front pages of black newspapers are decades. so i just started doing more and more research, and slowly but surely these little puzzle pieces started to come together and tell me a bigger story, a different story about the civil rights movement. but it took a long time. >> insurance of your research, did you have opportunities for interviews? on what other services to yet other newspaper? >> thank you. yeah, i did interview a number of people. in fact, i was very lucky to interview recy taylor, the woman was raped in 1944 by the carload of white men that she will be 91 issue. she is still alive. she is waiting for justice but she is still waiting for justice.
i felt very blessed to be able to talk to her. and i interviewed a number of other women in birmingham and a handful of people and montgomery. i use a lot of images that i found in the archives with historians may have asked the question and so we talked about what happened to them but they never really followed up. i looked at court documents, and tried to get court proceedings, trial transcripts, stuff like that. i got a lot of material in a tallahassee case in that regard. a lot of the cases i write about in mississippi, the transcript went missing or were thrown away or destroyed after so many years. i talked to old turns on some of these cases. i have not spoken to any of the assailants, although a couple of them are still in prison for other crimes. that they committed after the release. but i was sort of afraid to talk to them. so it was a lot of digging. through the archives, court records, old newspapers, and a talking to a lot of people on the ground.
>> did the white wives get upset enough with her husband that that would stop the rates, or not? >> not that i found. though it wasn't a focus of my inquiries. i do think that why women's silence made him somewhat complicit in these cases. and you see that during slavery in particular, but there were a handful of white women who organize particularly jesse jane the aims and the associates of white women for the -- southern white women for the prevention of lynching in 1930s who really called out the youth, the myth of the racist to protect white woman at. and they say we're tired of you using this, this tactic in our name. you cannot use it any longer. it's not about us. it's about you. and so there were women who spoke out. most white women i think had
their mouths shut. >> thank you. thank you for your work. it is so intriguing, and so rich. i'm curious, my mother was born of an assault, by ray. and her family, she was in aberdeen, mississippi, where she was born, and the family fled to cleveland as part of the great migration. and i'd like to know whether there was any exploration of children who were born as a result of his sexual violence and have the women themselves and their families dealt with them. >> thank you. i'm really sorry to that story, although i will say that that story is very common. and a lot of women that i spoke to would tell that story,
particularly about their grandmothers. the cases that i studied, as far as i know, did not result in any children of the attacks, did not result in any children. but a lot of the black women who were attacked left town. and then often came back home. recy taylor did not leave. she stayed where her family was under death threats regularly. her father, in fact, she moved in with her father and he stayed up at night in the backyard, you know, perched in the branches of an old tree with a shotgun ready to ward off any night riders get a lot of women left the south as part of a great migration because this is one of the pushback is, pushing people out of the south, sexual violence. and a lot of people state. for as many women who testified about these crimes, there were many more who would remains
high, buried at the start and kept with their daily lives. you know, never justice and just hoping to continue, you know, along with their daily activities. that's what recy taylor did in many ways. betty jean left town for a while. then went back to tallahassee and some of the other women that i've written about, you know, sometimes their stories and in archives, you don't hear back from the. you don't know what happened for sure. so it's kind of in the air. but the story is not surprising that it's very common. >> i would love to hear more about rosa parks that i may be sanctions one of the best investigators if they're going to center for the recy taylor incident, and also i mean, what was the rest of her life like and her investigation story? and also, what did she say about her feeding tied at the time? is that something she bought or
not? >> she protested that stated. she said the only tyrant i was was tired of being mistreated. she made it clear that that's not new history and has been written more. rosa parks, her active as in history is well-known i think for scholars of the civil rights movement that although it is still as this matronly seamstress as if she didn't do anything else except so people's clothing all day. with tidy. so rosa parks worked as secretary of them upcoming naacp from 1943 through the montgomery bus boycott. in that role she didn't just take notes, you know, during meetings, as the title implies, but she was a detective. what that meant was she traveled the dusty back roads of alabama, often at great risk, in order to document the crimes that were committed against african-americans. she would take the stores back to montgomery where she and eating nixon and other people in power would decide whether not to launch a campaign. or to bring legal charges.
they used the kind of cool cool triage to figure out what cases could be used as a public protest in which cases they had to keep quiet. politics is the heart. had to figure out which cases where political possible to bring forward and launch a public advocate so she do that. she's a grandchild comes to shoes raise the lives of black power and black nationalism. her grandfather believe in armed self-defense. and so did she. she spoke at the funeral of robert williams, shockingly. we forget about that rosa parks, the rosa parks who would give the eulogy for a man who stood up for arms self-defense and was decried to the 1960s for his militancy. she married a man who carried a pistol around town and he was one of those early organizers of montgomery naacp and was a
defender of the scottsboro do with who were put on trial and jailed for many years and accused of raping white women on an alabama freight train. so she did a lot of things. and often her stories in after them out of a bus boycott but she marched into most every campaign in the civil rights movement and then continued her activism in detroit where, as i noted in 1975, she basically headed the detroit branch of the free joann volk committee. so here she is in 1975 continue to do and i raise activism. at the time now whatever he thinks it's either because the women's movement had speak out feasible for black women wear rosa parks have been doing it for a long, long time pitches much for interesting and textbooks portray her as, and much more militant. she's a radical in her own right. and i think we do her and ourselves a disservice by removing the tired rosa parks and the militant rosa parks.
>> thank you for writing this book. i graduated from wayne state university in 1966. the question, she was killed and that always puzzled us. but i'm sorry, i didn't hear your question spent in the case of mrs. larusso she was killed, but were there two or three other young men with her at the time? >> no. she was in the car with a young man is about 19. he pretended he was dead in order to save himself. the other clan members who murdered her from the car, they were in a high speed chase on the highway and they shot at her out of their car windows, murder her. her carted off the side of the road. they got out of the car and went to the car to make sure both passengers were dead. and so he laid as still as a stone in order to come in general, make him believe he was
dead that as soon as the car pulled away he jumped up and tried to flag down an ex-con which happen to be a carload of the snake workers and putting right activist heading back to film a. there were other martyrs in the film a campaign of course. but that night it was just her. >> thank you very much for this refreshing perspective on the civil rights. one of the things that can here tonight to come to this is the title of your book, and as a historian myself i know that someone the hardest things to do in terms of writing history is to decide on a title, because you want your title to be catching. you want your title to be attractive. and i like the fact that you point to a new history of the civil rights movement. what i also wondered about your
decision of using rosa parks instead of recy taylor, if you thought about that and it crossed your mind that if it crossed your mind, or rosa parks still serve as part of driving us, and when she decided, you come up with speed as i'll be very honest about this answer, it and that is the top part of the title, the dark industry was mine and mine alone. i picked that. my editor chose the subtitle. you know, we picked -- chose not together but i just wanted to be black women, rape and resist the. she said no, no, no. it has to be more than that. we ended up with his long title that takes two minutes to say out loud. and takes up the entire cover of the book.
but i ended up really liking it because i thought it'd find exactly what the book was about and it did exactly what you said, challenged -- rosa parks and new history, what could this be? so it do people do. i will say that recy taylor is on the cover. that is her. >> they will come with a microphone. >> what about joann little? what happened with the rest of her life? >> jolynn little is a very interesting case, because she was an inmate. she was a criminal. and she had a pretty shady history. most people in her community didn't like her. her parents had a hard time with her. she wasn't the kind of person that people wanted to rally around, you know. she was no rosa parks. and so the attorneys in her case
had to work really hard to present her as a respectable woman who was acting in self-defense as opposed to any kind of premeditated -- premeditated escape. for a while she did so speaking arrangements with a black party and women's group that and she kind of drifted off, and very few people heard from her again. she didn't show up to speaking engagements after a bit, and was late for appointments. and then there's an article i thinking 80s of her being arrested with a sawed off shotgun in a car in brooklyn, new york. and then that's it. serve the archival trail and. and i don't know what has happened with her since then. but i struggled hard with this because almost all the other women who i worked on, whose testimony i read, evidence i gathered, i believed. in my core. and i wondered and a long time
if joann little was telling the truth. and whether or not it was a case i could really get behind. but ultimately, i think listening to her testimony, and listening to her attorney's talk about her and reading the transcripts, i believed her. i believe her because i don't think that she could have gone up there and pretended her way out of that murder case. you know, she was smart and she was slight, as yet a little bit of a criminal mind, she wasn't making this up. you know, the trial transcript made that clear. and in that case i'm particularly grateful those trial transits are available. they are still available at the library in chapel hill north carolina. she was an interesting case. [inaudible] >> i don't know the name off the
top my head. it's about in my footnotes. i would have to go to the book or i can get a at at the end. tested was in speeches and thoughts. i can of the title of the. do you know? [inaudible] >> something like that. it's in my footnotes. it's an older book but it is full of really good information. really good primary source document. >> can you quantify your measures, to what extent this impression of black women, against them by white people, how much that influenced the civil rights movement, happen sooner or more forcefully? give us some insight into that? >> that's another great question. i think that these cases and
public protest of these cases was very prominent in the 1940s, and early 1950s. and they kind of, you know, when something like this happens a lot of lessons in liberal organizations rally to promote these cases as examples of southern brutality. and its examples of un-american behavior, particularly at a time when the other states was at war in europe. so, these cases were really useful political tools in the 1940s when african-americans recognize the rhetoric of american democracy and the reality of jim crow. but by the 1950s when the politics shifted and it was this brittle white backlash to the brown decision, it made it much harder to talk about sexual violence in public. and made it more difficult for african-americans and liberal and leftist organizations to promote these cases as sort of
propaganda cases to highlight southern and justice. but what i found was these cases sort of ad and flowed in terms of public, public knowledge and public propaganda. but that on the ground they start tomorrow -- motivate people to not on join the naacp, but also to form a branch of the naacp are answer would these stories told me was more about what local people, what ordinary everyday people were concerned about on a day-to-day basis. you know, it was good to get voting rights. very important, crucial to have your citizenship recognized, but what would it mean if you could vote but you could walk home from church without being abducted and assaulted and your essay that would walk free? so some of this is about what ordinary local people needed to accomplish daily. and on a daily basis.
so i think that what sparks civil rights campaign, it did so in the form of catalyst working to bring people together to form local naacp chapters and campaign for civil rights. >> this may be a bit of an unfair question to ask about history, but as you it through this work, thinking about the world that we live in today, do you find any resonance of what you studied and what you wrote about for the world we're living in right not? >> sure. i think that in order to understand the way the black women are portrayed in popular media, we need to understand this history. so often black women are objectified and subjugated, their bodies are sexualize, overly sexualized. notches by white men but by everyone. and so that sexualization is rooted in this past. that's the jezebel right there. and i think that if we look at the way michelle obama is
treated today, you know, there's a focus on her body in a way that i don't know anyone talk to any other first ladies bodies. may be because they weren't as a tone as michelle obama's. [laughter] but really, i don't know anybody sort of talking about our subject to find the bodies of other first ladies the way they have with michelle obama. and i also think that there's been a lot of complaints about her, not in these words, but really acting up the, stepping out of her place. have you ever heard other first ladies being criticized for being with dignitaries? i mean, usually we are proud of her first ladies when they go to europe and the meet with royalty. but somehow michelle obama caught a lot of heat this summer for doing that. notches because she went on vacation there in spain, but i think that what people were saying was that she was playing the lady. and that was not appropriate for a black woman. . .
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