“Their time is up. And I just hope—I just hope that Recy Taylor died
knowing that her truth, like the truth of so many other women who were
tormented in those years, and even now tormented, goes marching on.” Oprah Winfrey at her Golden Globes speech.
Taylor died in her sleep on 28 December at a nursing home in
Abbeville, her brother Robert Corbitt said. He said Taylor had been in
good spirits the previous day and her death was sudden. She would have
been 98 on Sunday. Taylor was 24 when she was abducted and raped as she
walked home from church in Abbeville. Her attackers left her on the side
of the road in an isolated area.
The National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People
(NAACP) assigned Rosa Parks to investigate the case, and she rallied
support for justice for Taylor. Two all-white, all-male grand juries
declined to charge the six white men, who had admitted to authorities
that they assaulted her.
The Alabama Legislature passed a resolution apologising to her in
2011. Taylor’s story, along with those of other black women attacked by
white men during the civil rights era, is told in “At the Dark End of the Street”, a book by Danielle McGuire released in 2010.
A documentary on her case, “The Rape of Recy Taylor”, was
released this year. “It is Recy Taylor and rare other black women like
her who spoke up first when danger was greatest,” Nancy Buirski, the
documentary’s director, told NBC News. “It is these strong
women’s voices of the Forties and early Fifties and their efforts to
take back their bodies that led to the Montgomery Bus Boycott and other
movements that followed, notably the one we are witnessing today.”
In a 2010 interview, Taylor said that she believed the men who attacked
her were dead, but she still would like an apology from officials. “It
would mean a whole lot to me,” Taylor said. “The people who done this to
me … they can’t do no apologising. Most of them is gone.”