Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Recy Taylor: A Symbol of Jim Crow's Forgotten Horror

After her brutal gang rape, Recy Taylor became a global symbol of American injustice and helped inspire the civil rights movement. So why has nobody heard of her today?



by Cynthia Gordy - the Root


Sept. 3, 1944: It's a damp evening in the Alabama black belt, nearly midnight, but services at Rock Hill Holiness Church in the small town of Abbeville have just let out. Recy Taylor, a 24-year-old sharecropper, sets out along the town's fertile peanut plantations, accompanied for the walk home by two other worshippers from the African-American congregation. Moments later, a green Chevrolet rolls by -- and their routine journey takes a horrifying turn.


Wielding knives and guns, seven white men get out of the car, according to Taylor and witnesses from a state investigation of the case. One shoves Taylor in the backseat; the rest squeeze in after her and ride off. Her panicked friends run to tell the sheriff.

After parking in a deserted grove of pecan trees, the men order the young wife and mother out at gunpoint, shouting at her to undress. Six of them rape Taylor that night. Once finished, they drive her back to the road, ordering her out again before roaring off into the darkness.

Days after the brutal attack, Taylor's story traveled (continued here)

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