Did You Know?: Rosa Parks Led the Rape Investigation of a Black Mother in 1944

Illinois

Midwest / Illinois 4 Views

With the disappointing amount of powerful men being accused of rape sexual assault another rape has resurfaced. A rape which was investigated by Rosa Parks before she became infamous for refusing to give up her seat to white man on the bus.

In 1944, Rosa Parks was sent to Abbeville, Alabama by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) to investigate the gang rape of Recy Taylor. Being a victim of rape herself, Parks was determined to seek justice for Taylor.

At the age of 24, one evening Recy was walking home from a church revival when a car full of white men pulled up next to her. She tried to run but they grabbed her and forced her into the car. They drove to a secluded area and each man took his turn raping her.

“After they messed over and did what they were going to do me, they say, ‘We’re going to take you back. We’re going to put you out. But if you tell it, we’re going to kill you,’ ” Taylor, remembered in a 2011 interview with NPR’s Michel Martin when Taylor was 91.

The men then blindfolded her and left her on the side of the road where her father found her.

After reporting the rape to the local authorities including sheriff, Lewey Corbitt no action was taken to apprehend the savages. One of her rapist, Hugo Wilson, even confessed and named the other six men who participated in violating Taylor and still no arrests were made. This is when Rosa Parks came in to investigate.

While interviewing Taylor Sheriff Corbitt interrupted the interview and threaten Parks, referring to her as a troublemaker and demanding she leave his town immediately or be arrested. “I don’t want any troublemakers here in Abbeville,” he said. “If you don’t go, I’ll lock you up.”
Despite Parks relentless effort to seek justice for Taylor nothing ever happened to men. Parks even managed to bring National attentional to the Taylor’s rape.

The Chicago Defender reported that the lawyer of one of the rapist offered $600 to Willie Guy Taylor, Recy Taylor’s husband, to silence his wife. “Nigger — ain’t $600 enough for raping your wife,” the story quoted the lawyer saying. The six defendants were willing to pay $100 each “if Recy Taylor would forget.”

And to this day none of the men have ever been convicted or arrested or held accountable for what they did to Recy Taylor. In 2011 the state of Alabama issued an apology to Recy, “That we acknowledge the lack of prosecution for crimes committed against Recy Taylor by the government of the State of Alabama,” the resolution read. “That we declare such failure to act was, and is, morally abhorrent and repugnant, and that we do hereby express profound regret for the role played by the government of the State of Alabama in failing to prosecute the crimes.”

Rosa Parks was passionate about helping Taylor because at the time white men continuously got away with raping black women. Her rapist was a white man as well.

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