Two Books You Must Read if You Want to Know About the Real Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks had a dynamic life as an activist that too few of us will ever know. The Alabama-native was a real-life heroine who cut her teeth investigating rapes for the NAACP long before she refused to give up her seat to a white patron in Montgomery.

After you uncover the many layers to her life and work, you'll see that she deserves to be celebrated right along the most visible male figures. Get acquainted with her heroism with these two books.
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

Danielle McGuire's history recounts the systemic rape and sexual abuse of Black women at the hands of white men. This community terror was a rarely mentioned precipitator of the Civil Rights Movement.

In painstaking detail, McGuire outlines the horrific rapes of Black women as well as the community response. Rosa Parks was an investigator for the Montgomery NAACP. She collected information on the gang rape of Recy Taylor in 1944.

The lore of Parks as a mild-mannered seamstress does not hold in this important exploration of Black women's activism.

In wonderful detail, Jeanne Theoharis documents how Rosa Parks came to be a nearly saint-like figure in American life. 

Parks was a woman of modest means whose politic self was groomed by watch her Grandfather, a devoted Garveyite. Long before the day that changed the world in 1955, Parks demonstrated her commitment to social justice. She was an astute organizer, even befriending Ella Baker and attending a training at the Highlander Folk School.

By the biography's end you see just how intentional Parks was with all of her work and why she deserves every accolade given.