Politics

Honored by Oprah, Recy Taylor, rights crusader, will be in spirit at State of the Union

Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, D-Del., adjusts her RECY button as she joins other House members in wearing black in support of the #metoo and #timesup movement, ahead of Tuesday’s State of the Union address on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018. Members of the Congressional Black Caucus and members of the Democratic Caucus wore red pins in memory of Recy Taylor. Taylor was abducted and raped while walking home from work in Alabama in 1944.
Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, D-Del., adjusts her RECY button as she joins other House members in wearing black in support of the #metoo and #timesup movement, ahead of Tuesday’s State of the Union address on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018. Members of the Congressional Black Caucus and members of the Democratic Caucus wore red pins in memory of Recy Taylor. Taylor was abducted and raped while walking home from work in Alabama in 1944. AP

After Oprah Winfrey’s “Time is up” speech at the Golden Globes earlier this month, some took to Twitter to say the actress/TV personality had given her State of the Union speech.

At the Globes, Winfrey said she hoped the legacy of Recy Taylor, a black Alabama woman who was raped by six white men in the 1940s who were never charged with the crime, hoped that Taylor’s truth would go “marching on.”

Recy Taylor
In this Oct. 7, 2010, file photo, Recy Taylor, 91, sits in her home in Winter Haven, Fla. Oprah Winfrey’s speech at the Golden Globes highlighted the story of Taylor, a black Alabama woman who was raped by six white men in 1944 who were never charged with the crime. Phelan M. Ebenhack AP

Many heard. On Tuesday, The Hill reported that Rep. Terri A. Sewell, D-Alabama, would bring Mary Joyce Owens, Taylor’s granddaughter, as her guest to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address Tuesday night at the Capitol in Washington.

Taylor died at 97, just three days shy of her 98th birthday, on Dec. 28, 2017. She had been assaulted and raped in 1944 while walking home from church along a country road bounded by peanut farms in Alabama.

The NAACP sent Rosa Parks to investigate and interview Taylor. The two became staunch advocates for racial justice and women’s rights. Winfrey honored both women in her Golden Globes acceptance speech where she collected the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement.

Afterward, many touted Winfrey for president in 2020, a position she has since said she doesn’t “have the DNA for.”

At the State of the Union address, the Democratic Women’s Working Group, Democratic female House members, planned to wear black in solidarity with the #MeToo movement and female Congressional Black Caucus members invited representatives to wear red Recy Taylor pins at the event.

Rep. Sewell’s statement: “Recy Taylor was an American shero and an Alabama treasure who spoke up in the face of racism, hate, and sexual violence. While she is no longer with us today, I think Recy Taylor would be proud to know that her granddaughter, Mary Joyce Owens, is attending the State of the Union in honor of her legacy and our ongoing fight against racism and sexual misconduct.

“By standing up to injustice over six decades ago, Recy Taylor inspired generations of men and women to hold perpetrators of sexual violence accountable. Mary Joyce Owens’ presence at the State of the Union is a symbol of the bravery of all those who are speaking out and a reminder that we will not be silent in the face of injustice.”

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