Thesis: McGuire argues that the Civil Rights movement was not led just by the strong male leaders presented to society such as Martin Luther King Jr., but is "also rooted in African-American women 's long struggle against sexual violence (xx)." McGuire argues for the "retelling and reinterpreting (xx)" of the Civil Rights movement because of the resistance of the women presented in her text.
1) The major theme of the book is respectability. In the 1950 's Rosa Parks became the symbol for black female resistance in the movement, not because she was the first black woman to feel repressed by the white male, but because her record and reputation allowed the NAACP to fully stand behind her and support her. We see the role of respectability shift through the decades into the 1970 's when a black female convict, Joan Little, stabbed and killed a white male corrections officer in self defense. Her defense attorneys still had to present her in a respectable fashion, and spent months training her how to act appropriately on the stand, but her past did not stand in her way of being a representative for female, black oppression like it once would have.
2) A secondary, and very subtle theme of the book is courage. Courage, like respectability, shifted its meaning slightly throughout the decades. Courage in the earlier part of the century for both black males and females, could mean and often relied on staying silent and enduring rather than openly resisting. As time went on, it became more courageous to speak out and...
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...ble to give us an intimate look into a personal life, that many authors cannot. McGuire 's bibliography itself should be considered a strength do to its meticulous detail and breaking up of sources, i.e. manuscripts, books, articles, etc. Through this bibliography McGuire is showing the reader she did not just rely on one or two types of sources, or just a few other scholars. Her attention to detail, not just in her bibliography, was another strength. She provided detail to the point where the reader could feel she was standing there with the subject.
What I feel was her only weakness, was that she tended to be repetitive at points. She would often go back to a point she had already made, repeating a reference, to support a slightly different statement. It is very much stretching for me to call this a weakness, but if I have to give one, that would be it.
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