This week I had the honour of writing for @telegraph about Recy Taylor, the woman named by Oprah Winfrey in her Golden Globes speech as “a name you should know”, and the subject of an exceptionally good documentary by Nancy Buirski coming out this week, The Rape of Recy Taylor.
Recy Taylor lived under Jim Crow laws in Alabama. She was raped, and mutilated to the extent she never again bore a child, by six white teenage boys who, as an interviewee in the film puts it, just didn’t “see” her. She was nothing to them, as years of teaching by their forefathers had told them that it was their bloodright to help themselves to black women.
In spite of this, Recy Taylor spoke up and reported her attackers to the police. One of them, the driver, confessed. Yet none were arrested, and at trial, all of them got off. The NAACP then took up Taylor’s cause, sending in Rosa Parks as lead investigator. Black women, and men, around the US wrote to the Alabama governor demanding a fair hearing; the black press rallied; and eventually even the silent white press covered the story.
Recy Taylor was given another day in court, but there was no justice for her - not until further public pressure led to an official apology in 2011. But her speaking up led to more people doing so. One woman’s call for action had a spiralling effect, and the need to safeguard black women’s bodies led to the Civil Rights Act.
Link to the story in my bio (you will need to register for free). As women and men fill my timeline as they go home to vote to repeal the 8th amendment, this is a good day to celebrate extraordinary action for justice, and positive change.
#recytaylor #sayhername #inspiringwomen #therapeofrecytaylor #civilrights #blacklivesmatter #whitesupremacy #worldhistory #ourhistory