Recy Taylor (born December 31, 1919)

Recy Taylor (born December 31, 1919) is an African American woman from Abbeville in Henry County, Alabama. On September 3, 1944, she was kidnapped while leaving church and brutally gang raped by six white men.Even though the men admitted the rape to authorities, two grand juries subsequently declined to indict the men, meaning no charges were ever brought against Taylor’s six assailants. Recy Taylor and Rosa Parks founded the committee in 1945. Her case garnered heavy media coverage. With this attention came national support, which led to what the Chicago Defender called the « strongest campaign for equal justice to be seen in a decade ».Committee members formed eighteen chapters across the United States, and included such figures as WEB DuBois, Mary Church Terrell, Oscar Hammerstein II, and Langston Hughes, among others. In 2011, the Alabama House of Representatives apologized on behalf of the state « for its failure to prosecute her attackers. »Taylor’s rape and the subsequent court cases were among the first instances of nationwide protest and activism among the African American community, and ended up providing an early organizational spark for the Civil Rights movement.

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