Saturday, October 28, 2017

The Rape of Recy Taylor

Within the last few weeks, numerous women (and several men) in Hollywood have come forth after years of silence against the men who sexually assaulted them. Many of them stayed quiet out of fear that either no one would believe them or their attacker(s) would seek retribution. But the very courageous will report what happened to them immediately.

That's what Nancy Buirski tells in her documentary The Rape of Recy Taylor. After being assaulted by six white men on her way home from church, Taylor's family tries to help her get justice (her attackers get acquitted twice, some of them enlisting in the war afterward). As a result, the NAACP sent Rosa Parks to help. And that's when history begins.

Buirski highlights in The Rape of Recy Taylor -- particularly towards the end -- who should be given credit for their presence in the civil rights movement. Not Martin Luther King, Jr., a man who regularly spoke out against the indignities colored people endured on a daily basis. No, Buirski has the numerous nameless who marched with King in such a role designation. And quite honestly, she's right.

As Virginia Woolf wrote in A Room of One's Own, "I would venture to guess that Anon, who wrote so many poems without signing them, was often a woman." (And yes, that's the actual quote.) How many women have made contributions to society that weren't recognized as such at the time? The truth may not be completely known but regardless, we have to respect the women in our lives, no matter what.

The Rape of Recy Taylor chronicles a forgotten name from a crucial time in American history, one responsible for shaping history itself. Taylor may not be in regular classroom discussions but she damn well should be. (And the same should be said for the many nameless victims of such ugly behavior.)

My Rating: ****1/2

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