Ujamaa Place Black History and Culture Day Hosted by The University of St. Thomas Honors Recy Taylor

The community is invited to a black history and culture celebration hosted by The University of St. Thomas in Saint Paul, MN honoring the life and legacy of Recy Taylor at O'Shaughnessy Auditorium on March, 24th, featuring a music, art and dance exhibition and exclusive screening of Nancy Burski's film "The Rape of Recy Taylor."
By: Ujamaa Place
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commemorate black history culture
commemorate black history culture
SAINT PAUL, Minn. - Feb. 22, 2018 - PRLog -- On the night of September 3, 1944, a 24-year-old Recy Taylor left church walking home with family friend Fannie Daniels and her teenage son West Daniels, when seven men, armed with a knife and gun forced Recy Taylor into their car. Through a confession, the sheriff learned that six men actually committed the crime, the seventh man did not touch Recy Taylor because he said he knew her. The rapists disparaged Recy Taylor's character by saying they paid her for sex. Danielle McGuire's book, "At The Dark End Of The Street", was pivotal in highlighting the many rape cases in the Jim Crow South, where black women were targeted by white men who believed black women were their property. This act of terrorism included threats of death to the victims and their families if they told anyone. Recy Taylor courageously told everyone with whom she came in contact.

Rosa Parks' grandparents (the McCauleys) lived in Abbeville. On many occasions when Rosa Parks traveled to Abbeville to speak to Recy Taylor, Parks was threatened, tormented and physically assaulted by sheriff's deputies. Recy Taylor's home was firebombed. The family was afraid and did everything possible to protect Recy Taylor. For example, her father, Benny Corbitt guarded the family home with a rifle by sitting in a tree all night. The children were not allowed to play in the front yard and Recy Taylor did not venture outside their family home for months after the rape. Eventually to keep Recy Taylor safe, Rosa Parks moved Recy and her family to Montgomery.

Rosa Parks had already been "a force to be reckoned with" as a human rights activist when she was assigned as the lead investigator for the NAACP. Rosa Parks' previous activism included her defense of the Scottsboro Boys, fighting the Klu Klux Klan and advocating for voter rights. Rosa Parks garnered support from E.D. Nixon, head of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, Rufus A. Lewis, Alabama State football coach and funeral director and E. G. Jackson, editor of the Alabama Tribune. Together they founded the Alabama Committee for Equal Justice, with the goal of protecting the rights of black women against sexual violence and rape. The campaign garnered media support from Black journalists around the nation. Committee members from eight chapters nationwide, included figures such as W.E.B. Dubois, Langton Hughes, Countee Cullen, Mary Church Terrell and Oscar Hammerstein II (to name a few).

The Alabama Committee for Equal Justice pressured Gov. Chauncey Sparks to investigate the case which garnered national headlines because of Rosa Parks' activism. Although Recy Taylor never received justice, the committee was successful in empowering black women to report acts of sexual violence. Recy Taylor's case was a significant catalyst in the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Civil Rights Movement that followed in Montgomery, in the mid 1950s through 1968.

Recy Taylor and her family moved to Winter Park, Florida where she worked picking oranges. Her daughter Joyce Lee had two daughters. Trauma and sadness again struck Recy Taylor in 1967, when Joyce Lee was hit in a head-run collision by a semi-tractor trailer, instantly killing Joyce Lee and one granddaughter. Leaning on her faith, Recy Taylor took charge and raised the grand-daughter who survived the crash.

In 2011, the Alabama State Legislature apologized to Recy Taylor on Mother's Day at the Pentecostal Church (presently known as Abbeville Memorial Church of God), where Recy Taylor was leaving the night of the rape in 1944. In the letter the lawmakers called the decision not to prosecute her assailants "morally abhorrent and repugnant." President Barack Obama invited Recy Taylor to visit the White House and attend a forum on Rosa Parks at the National Press Club in 2011. In January 2018, Oprah Winfrey spotlighted Recy Taylor at the Golden Globe Awards, declaring "their time is up," a reference to the men who hunted and raped Recy Taylor. Winfrey stated, "she hoped Taylor died knowing that her truth, like the truth of so many other women who were tormented in those years and even now, goes marching on."

Recy Taylor died peacefully in her sleep on December 28, 2017.

The community is invited to join Ujamaa Place at Commemorate Black History and Culture Day hosted by The University of St. Thomas, honoring the courage and strength of Recy Taylor on March 24th from 9am – 6:30pm. "The screening of 'The Rape of Recy Taylor' film directed by Nancy Buirski, will be followed by a panel discussion of Recy Taylor's human rights advocacy and the role of media in social justice. "What is the role of the current #metoo and #timesup movements in making sure that another Recy Taylor does not have to wait 74 years for recognition of the horror she experienced," said Dr. Artika Tyner. The panel will be moderated by Dr. Tyner who is the Vice President of Diversity & Inclusion at the University of St. Thomas in Saint Paul, MN.

Panelists include:

Dr. Nekima Levy-Pounds, Civil Rights Attorney / Racial Justice Expert & Activist

Bukola Oriola, Member of the U.S. Advisory Council on Human Trafficking

C.J., Star Tribune Columnist

Beth Hawkins, Education Journalist / Activist

Monique Linder, Media Strategist/Producer/Human Rights Activist

The community is invited to this day of commemoration on March 24th. Tickets are free. Registration / ticketing is required (click here).


About Ujamaa Place
Ujamaa Place transforms marginalized men through education and training to assist them with gainful employment that keeps them out of prison and in safe housing. Since opening the doors seven years ago, Ujamaa Place has served over 2,000 African American young men – 18 – 27 years old. All of the men coming to Ujamaa need and receive help. Some of the men enroll in Ujamaa's five step Theory of Transformation program, some are referred to appropriate mental and chemical health services, the homeless are sent to partner housing facilities and all receive GED assistance and job skills training. These men are offered hope, support and the love that has been missing in their lives. For more information, go to: ujamaaplace.org


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