The Grio — In 2008, the Department of Justice received over $1 million to pursue racially-motivated crimes committed during the Civil Rights era. However, the bill, known as the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act, only allowed the Justice Department to investigate “crimes that resulted in a death.” By limiting the scope of the bill, the Justice Department and other organizations focus almost exclusively on racial crimes committed against African-American men–a focus, the New York Times recently noted, that had not yielded significant prosecutions. Unfortunately, the crimes committed against black women during Jim Crow often remain unsolved and worse, unknown. Perhaps Congress should revise the bill and allow the Justice Department to investigate the flipside of lynching and racialized murder: the rape of black women.

On September 3, 1944, a carload of white men abducted Recy Taylor, a slender, copper-colored twenty-four-year-old mother and sharecropper as she walked home from church in Abbeville, Alabama. The six men drove her to a lonely wooded area outside of town and gang-raped her at gunpoint. When they finished, someone blindfolded her and shoved her back into the car. Back on the highway, the men stopped and ordered Taylor out of the car. “Don’t move until we get away from here,” one of them yelled. Taylor heard the car disappear into the night. She pulled off the blindfold, got her bearings, and began the long walk home.

That night she told her husband, her father, and the local sheriff what happened. A few days later, a telephone rang at the NAACP branch office in Montgomery, Alabama. E.D. Nixon, the local president, promised to send his best investigator to Abbeville. Her name was Rosa Parks.

arks met with Taylor shortly after the attack, and with black activists in Montgomery, Birmingham, and New York, organized the “Committee for Equal Justice for Mrs. Recy Taylor.” Together, they launched what the Chicago Defender called the “strongest campaign to be seen in a decade.”

Despite garnering national and international attention for nearly a year, Taylor’s assailants were never punished for what they did. Two all-white, all-male juries refused to indict the men despite the fact that they admitted to kidnapping and having sex with Taylor. Their admissions are part of a trove of evidence sitting in a box in theAlabama Department of Archives and History, yet there has been no movement to reopen Taylor’s case or any old racially-motivated rape cases.

The kidnapping and rape of Recy Taylor was not unusual in the segregated South. (Continue Reading @ The Grio…)

  • secretaddy

    This is heart wrenching ! And this is why many people feel that if values of EQUALITY, JUSTICE AND FREEDOM ARE central to attaining social equality. Thus Sexism , homophobia, ableism and classism must be BATTLED as fervently as racism !

  • kelly1920

    This is a sad story. My god!

  • Ginnette Powell @caffeinehusky

    That is so sad… how many cases were there that went unpunished??
    White men protect their women’s honor
    what about Black people?

    Did it only matter when injustices and horrors happened to Black men?

  • Jason

    This is shameful…One has to wonder if this is the element of Black history we all find too humiliating to confront…

  • Alexandra

    It’s the ugly truth about that movement. It still plays out even now (Ex: Dunbar village/Quiana Pietrzak)
    I think Black women will always have a hard time when it comes to things like these. They never had their own movement.

    White Women had Feminism. Black Men had Civil Rights. We can all say Civil Rights had Black women in it, but people forget to talk about the sexism within that movement. Thats why many Black women joined white women with the Feminism. But it didn’t work the same way. People forget that White women were just as racist as White men. Thats why I sometimes wince when I hear black women talk about feminism.

    Black women have a combo of being ‘Black’ and ‘Women’. That’s 2 strikes.
    Black men nor White women have that.

  • http://actsoffaithblog.com Faith

    I’m glad this is being discussed because I’ve blogged about this as well.

  • Clnmike

    You would thnk going after these crimes was common sense with a odds of finding the crook and prosecuting them.

  • Interested

    This is a story that needs to be told. Bravo Clutch, bravo.

  • Interested

    White Women had Feminism. Black Men had Civil Rights. We can all say Civil Rights had Black women in it, but people forget to talk about the sexism within that movement. Thats why many Black women joined white women with the Feminism. But it didn’t work the same way. People forget that White women were just as racist as White men. Thats why I sometimes wince when I hear black women talk about feminism.

    Black women have a combo of being ‘Black’ and ‘Women’. That’s 2 strikes.
    Black men nor White women have that.

    I completely agree Alexandra.

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