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 through word of mouth, catching the attention of a Montgomery NAACP activist named Rosa Parks. A seasoned anti-rape crusader, who focused on the sexual assaults of black women that were commonplace in the segregated South, Parks would eventually help bring the case international notice. Despite her efforts, however, in Jim Crow-era Alabama, Taylor's assailants were never punished.
It's curious, to say the least, that Taylor's name is not mentioned in history books. While most analyses of circumstances that inspired the civil rights movement focus on black men -- being lynched or railroaded into jail, or facing down segregationists -- the stories of countless black women like Recy Taylor, who were raped by white men during the same era, have gone understated, if not overlooked entirely.
Nearly 70 years later, having such a brutal attack swept under the rug is still a source of pain for a surviving victim.
"Wasn't nothing done about it," Taylor, now 91, told The Root in a phone interview from her Florida home. "The sheriff never even said he was sorry it happened. I think more people should know about it … but ain't nobody [in Abbeville] saying nothing."
Organizing a National Movement
At the time, others -- more than she ever knew -- did speak out in defense of Taylor. Her brother Robert Corbitt, now 74, was just 8 years old when his eldest sister was kidnapped, but he remembers that night well, and all that followed. [More here]
I know I rip some of these corporate blogs from time to time, but h/t to The Root for bringing us this story.
Finally, I see that my man Idris Elba is still going to play Heimdall in the movie Thor. (That brotha could play book on a shelf and Mrs. Field would drag us to watch the damn movie. "Come on field, it's supposed to be a really good movie". "But honey, it's about a bunch of books on a shelf". "Yes, but Idris Elba is in it".....) And some folks are still losing their minds. Hey, I get it, a black man playing Norse god really kind of stretches the imagination. (Ain't no brothers in Norway.) I guess it would be kind like a white man playing Jim Brown in a movie to us black folks. But wait, Jim Brown is a real person. Heimdall, on the other hand, is a fictional character. Never mind.
Still, I suppose if you are a fan of the comic book, you could argue that the PC police are ruining the product for you. When do you say enough already with this artistic liberty stuff?
"Thor has a hammer that flied to him when he clicks his fingers. That's okay, but the color of my skin is wrong?"
Idris, maybe you would have been better off playing a book.