Saturday, February 19, 2011

Ms. Recy Taylor: A Fight for Justice First Started by Rosa Parks

This is a very compelling guest post by African American Pundit.

As the story of Recy Taylor gets told through the Internet by The RootField Negro, and other African American and progressive bloggers, so does the need to fight for justice.  Across the nation, African Americans, infact, all Americans are reading and learning about the horror experienced by Recy Taylor.
Recy Taylor Pictures & Photos
Recy Taylor at 90, standing tall and still waiting for justice.

As Reported by The Root, Cynthia Gordy, “Sept. 3, 1944: It's a damp evening in the Alabama black belt, nearly midnight, but services at Rock Hill Holiness Church in the small town of Abbeville have just let out.

Painting of Rock Hill Holiness Church

Recy Taylor, a 24-year-old sharecropper, sets out along the town's fertile peanut plantations, accompanied for the walk home by two other worshippers from the African-American congregation. Moments later, a green Chevrolet rolls by -- and their routine journey takes a horrifying turn.

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.” More HERE

Fast forward to today, days after The Root’s report on the brutal attack, Taylor's story still travels, this time not only by word of mouth, but also through the internet, through black bloggers, and then through word of mouth, catching the attention of thousands of bloggers and readers throughout the U.S. and around the world.

Today it’s not only the Montgomery NAACP activist named Rosa Parks who would eventually help bring the case international notice, today it is the internet and blogs New Black Woman, Marians Blog, Black Femme blog, Black BuzzNew Black ManDamn Theory in of 2010, African American News and Commentary and many other Black and progressive blogs.
Family supports Recy Taylor from a distance.

Enter Tracey, who resides in New York state with her mother (Mrs M), who at one time lived in… yes you guessed it, Abbeville, Alabama.  

Tracey, in an inclusive Interview with African American Pundit shares more information on this continuing story of Recy Taylor: A Symbol of Jim Crow's Forgotten Horror

AAP: So Tracey, What is your involvement in the Recy Taylor Story?

Tracey :  Well Pundit, I first read about the Recy Taylor story on The Root and The Field Negro.

After talking with my mom and family I decided to write the Field Negro asking how I could help make this story come to life throughout the afrosphere/afrospear and blogosphere. I guess you and he talked about it, and that’s how I’m here now talking with you.

AAP: So walk us through what happened when you read the story:

Tracey:  “As I was reading the story I thought hmm… Alabama.  Then I read Abbeville, Alabama; wait a minute, Abbeville, that were my mom is from, it’s a very small town and literally, everyone knows everybody, so I said,  let me call my mom (Mrs M) and ask her if she was familiar with Ms. Taylor and her story.”

AAP: So what happened?
Tracey: “Well Pundit, I lot of things were going through my head at the time.  First off, I knew I had to be careful with questions that I asked my mom, I have always been sensitive about that, because I know her experiences back in Alabama during that time could bring back good memories, but also horrible memories of Jim Crow...”  So, at first I asked my mom if she heard about this gang rape that took place in the forties in Abbeville, Alabama. 
My mom asked the woman's name…  Then there was silence… and after a 15 or 20 seconds she said that is my Uncle Virgil's daughter.  At that point, I thought to myself… wow that makes her my cousin… Well, to say I was stunned would be an understatement.  I then went on to ask her many questions about the incident and the more my mom talked, I just could not believe what was happening.”
AAP: So Your Mom and dad were in the movement?
Tracey: “My mom and dad grew up in Alabama and were active participants in what we now call "The Civil Rights Movement"; sometimes I believe people think of it as some glorious movement, but instead these were people who were sick and very tired of the treatment they were receiving and decided to take part in civil disobedience.  I was always reluctant to ask my mom or my dad about their experiences in Alabama, due to what bad memories my questions would dredge up.  And here I was asking about an incident that happened in her hometown and I found out about it on a national blog.  I was talking to another younger cousin of mine and we cannot believe that we both had learned about Ms. Recy's this way.”
The rapist may have been a Federal workers son and his friends 
AAP: So what more do you know, or can share at this time?
Tracey:  “My mom shared with me that when this happened she was a girl, she learned about what happened from hearing "the old folks" talk.  Allegedly one of the participants was my mom's and Ms. Recy's mailman son and his friends.  Everyone knew who did it, but the sheriff wouldn't arrest anyone.  My mom also said she was left on the side of the road like trash after they were done.  My mom's sister, my Aunt X, (she still lives in Abbeville, Alabama so I will use X for now) told her that in 1991, Ms. Recy's brother tried to get the authorities to investigate the case, but he refused saying that those involved were dead.  Not true.”
AAP: Is your mom available for an interview?
Tracey:  Yes she and my Aunt are available to assist in any way they can to bring this chapter of Ms. Recy Taylor into the open and provide closure for her as she sees fit. Since Ms. Recy only wants an apology from the state of Alabama; I support her in that request. It would be wonderful if the Governor would ensure that would happen. It's the very least he could do.
AAP: Thank You Tracey. I look forward to further discussing this situation with you, your mom, and your aunt in the upcoming days.
Sidebar:  Tracey, her mother Mrs. M, and Aunt X, all family to Recy Taylor, are eager to continue the Fight for Justice in support of Recy Taylor. These strong Black women want justice to be served in Abbeville, (Henry County) Alabama. They have all gone from disbelief, anger, shock to a place in which they want to right a wrong.
As The Root reports, “It's unclear what legal options the family has today, but because Alabama has no statute of limitations on rape, McGuire posts that Taylor's case could potentially be reopened if the assailants are still alive. "There may be a possibility that they could sue the county or sheriff's department for obstruction of justice, given the cover-up," she said. "A creative attorney could certainly find a way." Tracey agrees with her Cousin Recy Taylor who recently said in The Root, "It was a long time ago," she says finally. "But I still think something should have been done about it."

This is part 1 of a 3 part interview. Part 2, Recy Taylor A Fight for Justice on Monday… Here on this blog.

Bloggers, please repost or link to this post. Let's get the word out that Recy Taylor deserves true justice.

Cross posted on MYDD, African American Pundit's BlogtTalkRadio Blog, Francis Holland Blog,  Democratic Afrosphere, TheLoop21 and Now Public

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