There are 6 facts about Recy Taylor that’ll make your hair stand on end. A disturbing fact (the preamble detail) that segues into the first historical fact is that the American Civil Liberties Union leaders whose stated mission is “to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States,” wrote in a response to a plea on Recy’s behalf, “There is nothing…that we can do,” to help her and stated they saw no grounds for their involvement. 1)See The American Civil Liberties Union Mission St.
Recy Taylor was Abducted by Seven White Men
Recy Taylor was walking home from a church revival meeting on September 3, 1944, when a group of white men abducted 2)Her abductors were Hugo Wilson, Herbert Lovett, Dillard York, Luther Lee, Willie Joe Culpepper, Robert Gamble and Billy Howerton. Howerton alleges he didn’t take part in the rape. and raped her, which certainly made her feel at that very moment, that “every room in her home had been broken into at the same time.” 3)American Crime S02E04: Slam Poetry Scene
Nearly a month before Recy’s sexual assault, two black men were executed in Shepton Mallet, England at the European Theater of Operations, a 300-year-old prison the United States took over in the year 1942. 4)August 11, 1944 It was one of the first accusations of rape made by a white woman against a black man in the ETO.5)The Encyclopedia of Rape: Chronology of Selected Rape-Related Events, pg. xv at year 1944-1945.
The Men Were Armed with Guns and Knives
Moments before Recy Taylor was abducted, the men unclearly identified her in some random attack that transpired earlier that day. This artifice, together with holding Recy Taylor at knife and gunpoint, was designed to coerce Recy Taylor into their car. The men then drove Recy to a secluded and desolate area.
Although she pleaded and asked to be let go, the men forced her to undress. Then they raped her for several hours. In the aftermath of the rape, the men shielded Recy Taylor’s eyes with a blindfold, threatened to kill her if she mentioned the rape to anyone, and abandoned her on a desolate road.
To Discredit Recy, Sheriffs Fabricated a “History of Venereal Disease”
Recy spoke out about the rape and was able to remember seeing and being in a green Chevrolet. This seemly minor detail pointed to a hick town with a population of 21,9126)Henry County, Alabama and this pointed to a man named Hugh Wilson who happened to have a green Chevrolet. Recy identified Wilson as one of the perpetrators who abducted her in September.
To discredit Recy’s complaint, Wilson claimed he and the other white men paid Recy to have sex. The sheriffs, perpetrators, and other people involved fabricated that Recy had been jailed and had a history of venereal disease. Many Southern whites stereotyped (and still stereotype) black women as the biblical Jezebel — and see us as archetypes that lack self-control of our libidos. This imagery of Jezebel exposes European and American perceptions formulated during and after contact with African culture.7)The Encyclopedia of Rape: Slavery at pg. 234.
An Avalanche of Rights Violations Buried Recy’s Case
In the wake of Recy’s rape, a consistent supply of new crimes — from black women who were sexually assaulted to unfounded accusations of sexual crimes that resulted in many black men being lynched — buried Recy’s case from public view and furthered injustice.
Governor Chauncey Sparks was a White Supremacist
Rosa Parks 8) a victim of attempted rape herself who documented such crimes against black women came from the Montgomery chapter of the NAACP to talk with Recy. As a result, Governor Chauncey Sparks, an open white supremacist, grudgingly ordered a private investigation. Defendant Culpepper corroborated Recy’s version that she was raped, admitting, “She was crying and asking us to let her go home to her husband and baby.”
Despite the inculpatory evidence on the defendants and unwavering facts, the first and second grand jury failed to issue indictments in February 1945, largely because the members of both Jim Crow juries had connections with the defendants.
Racists Firebombed Recy’s House
Racists firebombed the Taylor house. As a result, the Taylor’s moved in with Recy’s father and younger siblings. Recy had one child name Joyce Lee. Joyce died in 1967 in a car accident. The documentary The Rape of Recy Taylor revealed that after she was raped, she was rendered infertile and unable to have any more children.
Years after Recy’s rape, specifically in the year 1986, the government passed the Federal Sexual Abuse Act; thereafter, the government passed The Federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) in 1994. In 2011, Alabama’s legislature formally apologized to Taylor for not offering justice; however, the lawmakers in that state failed to introduce legislation or name a piece of legislation in the name of Recy that would protect African-American women from the historical context of rape, by racist white men.
Recy passed away last year on December 28, 2017, and she will forever be remembered as a woman that “is art; a perfection a perfect expression of pain, struggle, strength, and beauty.”9) Chauncey Sparks Image: Getty Images; text from McGuire, Danielle L. (2010). At the Dark End of the Street: Black Women, Rape, and Resistance- A New History of the Civil Rights Movement from Rosa Parks to the Rise of Black Power. Random House, pg. 119-125.
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||See The American Civil Liberties Union Mission St.|
|2.||↑||Her abductors were Hugo Wilson, Herbert Lovett, Dillard York, Luther Lee, Willie Joe Culpepper, Robert Gamble and Billy Howerton. Howerton alleges he didn’t take part in the rape.|
|3.||↑||American Crime S02E04: Slam Poetry Scene|
|4.||↑||August 11, 1944|
|5.||↑||The Encyclopedia of Rape: Chronology of Selected Rape-Related Events, pg. xv at year 1944-1945.|
|6.||↑||Henry County, Alabama|
|7.||↑||The Encyclopedia of Rape: Slavery at pg. 234.|
|8.||↑||a victim of attempted rape herself who documented such crimes against black women|
|9.||↑||Chauncey Sparks Image: Getty Images; text from McGuire, Danielle L. (2010). At the Dark End of the Street: Black Women, Rape, and Resistance- A New History of the Civil Rights Movement from Rosa Parks to the Rise of Black Power. Random House, pg. 119-125.|