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The Rape of Recy Taylor: How Rosa Parks Helped a Sharecropper Report Her Assault and Seek Justice

A new film looks at the 1944 gang rape of Recy Taylor, a 24-year old black mother and sharecropper. Following the rape, she refused to be silenced and spoke up with help from the NAACP’s chief rape investigator Rosa Parks. When Parks went to interview Taylor, the local sheriff kept driving by the house and eventually burst in, threatening Parks with arrest if she didn’t leave town. Parks left and then launched the Alabama Committee for Equal Justice for Mrs. Recy Taylor, triggering a movement to seek justice 11 years before Parks became a civil rights hero for refusing to give up her bus seat to a white man, launching the Montgomery bus boycott. We speak with the film’s director, Nancy Buirski, and with Yale historian Crystal Feimster, author of “Southern Horrors: Women and the Politics of Rape and Lynching.”

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