The one name that needs to be googled and hashtagged today and in the days to follow is Recy Taylor.
While many are glorifying Oprah for the stance she took on the serious, and unfolding topic of sexual harassment and assault against women, I’d argue that in addition to it being “Oprah’s Moment,” she intentionally used that moment to educate.
In true Oprah style, she gave a significant nod to a man of her heart, Sidney Poitier, and recalled the words of her dear friend Maya Angelou during her backstage acceptance speech that of “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”
But as she stood on stage, clad in all black as a silent statement against the harassment and abuse revealings in hollywood and the media, she drew attention to Recy Taylor, a woman living in Abbeville, Alabama, who was abducted and gang rapped at age 24 in 1944 and ordered that she would be killed if she spoke to anyone about the incident. Taylor died in December 2017, just shy of turning 98.
Instead of suffering in silence, she shared with authorities what happened, but this incident was shared during the height of the Jim Crow era, a time period when laws were enforced to undermine the freedom of African Americans.
Winfrey mentioned in her speech that Taylor shared her story with Rosa Parks, who, 11 years later went on to become the staunch and fearless woman she is remembered as.
Recently, the film The Rape of Recy Taylor was viewed at the New York Film Festival. This film further helped Taylor share her story with many others who may have never even whispered her name.
It’s revelations such as this that are hard-hitting-in-between-the-eyes reminders that there will never be an end to the learning of stories surrounding African American history and culture. The mentioning of Recy Taylor in Oprah’s speech was meant to be a personal #MeToo moment, especially for women of color. There are stories to be told, names to be learned, names to be remembered, and triumphs to be shared.
It’s more than a trending hashtag. It’s more than a collective fashion statement at a Hollywood event. It’s more than Oprah Winfrey. It’s life’s incidents and stories that beg to be told and not forgotten.
For more on Recy Taylor, read the following article
All Photo Credits are from Google Images