Who was Recy Taylor? Winfrey highlights story of 1944 rape victim in speech

(AP) — Oprah Winfrey’s barnstormer of a speech at the Golden Globes highlighted the story of a black Alabama woman who was raped by six white men in 1944.

Winfrey, in speaking of the victims of sexual assault whose voices might never be heard, told the audience that Recy Taylor was a name they should know.

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 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 indict the six white men who admitted to authorities that they assaulted her.

In a 2010 interview, Taylor told The Associated Press that she believes the men who attacked her are 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 apologizing. Most of them is gone.”

The Alabama Legislature passed a resolution apologizing 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.

In her speech, Winfrey said Taylor “lived as we all have lived, too many years in a culture broken by brutally powerful men.”

She added: “Their time is up.”

Taylor died in her sleep at a nursing home in Abbeville on Thursday, 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.

Up Next:


  • Popular

  • Recent

Stories you may be interested in -- includes Advertiser Stories