Civil Rights Pioneer Recy Taylor Dies at 97

Lester Mason
December 30, 2017

Recy Taylor, a black Alabama woman whose rape by six white men in 1944 drew national attention, died on Thursday.

"[She was] a fearless woman and a fighter, who'd tried her best to get it known all over the world", Taylor's brother, Robert Corbitt, told NBC News in a phone interview from Alabama. He added that she'd been in good spirits the day prior and her death was fairly sudden.

On September 3, 1944, Taylor, her friend, Fannie Daniel, and Daniel's teenage son, were walking home from church when a auto of white men pulled up besides them and subsequently forced Taylor into the vehicle at gunpoint. A married mother of two at the time, Taylor was on her way home from a church service one September evening in Abbeville.

It was reported that the suspects' lawyer told her husband, "N***er - ain't $600 enough for raping your wife". She was blindfolded and driven to a wooded area where she was forced to undress, gang raped, and left on the side of the road.

The investigator they sent was Rosa Parks, just over a decade before she would popularly refuse to give up her bus seat. Parks also called out for the prosecution of Taylor's attackers, none of whom have been ever indicted.

Two all-white, all-male grand juries declined to indict the six white men who admitted to authorities that they assaulted her.

Taylor spent most of her adult life in central Florida. In a 2010 interview, Taylor told the Associated Press that she believed the men who were responsible for attacking her have died, but she still would prefer an apology from officials.


"After they messed over and did what they were going to do me, they say, 'We're going to take you back". "The peoples there - they seemed like they wasn't concerned about what happened to me, and they didn't try and do nothing about it". "Majority is gone".

Her younger brother Corbitt told the Undefeated that his sister never recovered emotionally from the 1944 attack.

"That was her legacy", Buirski said. After I retired, I devoted myself to getting something done about it.

The Alabama Legislature in 2011 passed a resolution apologizing.

The horrific incident ultimately led her spearhead an anti-rape activism movement in the Jim Crow South. According to "At the Dark End of the Street", a book by Danielle McGuire that talks about women raped during the Jim Crow Era, Parks pressed people to write letters to then-Alabama governor Chauncey Sparks, since the men weren't charged.

Recy's story is the heart of filmmaker Nancy Buirski's "The Rape of Recy Taylor" - a documentary detailing the case, which made its North America debut at the New York Film Festival earlier this year.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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