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Oprah Winfrey Visits The Grave Of Recy Taylor, The Woman She Honored In Her Speech At The 75th Golden Globes

Two weeks have passed since the 75th Golden Globes, but Oprah Winfrey's electrifying speech that uplifted women and marked the end of an era of silence and complicity is still on everyone's minds.

 

 

She spoke of her life as an underprivileged child and a new dawn rising for women around the world, but what struck people the most was her mention of a black woman whose name had been obscured in history: Recy Taylor. 

Oprah narrated Recy's tale to make it an example of how much the world has changed, and has yet to keep changing.

On a Sunday evening in September 1944, a 24-year-old Recy was on her way home from Rock Hill Holiness Church in Abbeville, Alabama when six white men abducted her. The group's leader forced Recy into his green Chevrolet, where he demanded that she take of her clothes and behave just the way she would with her husband. All six men proceeded to rape her and left her on the side of the road in the wee hours of the morning, as detailed by The New York Times.

 

 

Recy was able to report what had transpired to the county sheriff, and even successfully identified one of her assailants. White vigilantes set Recy's home's porch on fire the next day, forcing Recy and her husband and daughter to evacuate their home.

Recy escalated the issue to the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People that sent Rosa Parks, then a young activist, to investigate, and who managed to get a trial for Recy's case. An all-white, all-male grand jury was responsible for deciding the case's verdict, and in the end, none of Recy's rapists were found guilty.

 

 

It was only in 2011 when Alabama Legislature recognized this event as abhorrent and in every way, unacceptable. They publicly apologized to Recy by offering her a letter on Mother’s Day in the church where she was walking home from on that fateful evening.

Recy died in December 2017 just a few days shy of her 98th birthday without receiving the full extent of justice for this crime.

During one of her assignments for TV show 60 Minutes, the 63-year-old actress found herself in Recy's hometown of Abbeville. As she made a side trip to Recy's grave, Oprah made it a point to pay her respects to the woman who inspired a room of many of Hollywood's most influential people as well as a global audience.

Recy may have moved on from this life, but thanks to Oprah's speech, her memory will now serve as motivation for women to fight for their rights and everyone—including men—to work towards a society where crimes like this never happen again. 

 

 

In her speech, Oprah alluded to Recy's abusers and compared them to the men today committing similar crimes. On behalf of all women, she exerted power on them by saying, "Their time is up. And I just hope that Recy Taylor died knowing that her truth, like the truth of so many other women who were tormented in those years and even now tormented, goes marching on.”

Oprah delivered her speech as she was given the Cecil B. DeMille at the 75th Golden Globes. The award honors members of the entertainment industry who have positively impacted the industry and their community.

 

Photo from @oprah