The Rape of Recy Taylor

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Featuring a post-film panel discussion with Dr. Stephanie Troutman and Annie Sykes.

On the night of September 3, 1944, a young African-American mother from Abbeville, Alabama, named Recy Taylor was walking home from church with two friends when she was abducted by seven white men, driven away and dragged into the woods, raped by six of the men, and left to make her way home.

“NYT Critics’ Pick! Planting a flag firmly at the intersection of patriarchy, sexism and white supremacy, The Rape of Recy Taylor is a documentary of multiple layers and marvelous gumption.” – Jeannette Catsoulis, New York Times

Against formidable odds and endless threats to her life and the lives of her family members, Taylor chose not to remain silent, but instead to bravely speak up and press charges, waging a war for justice that still resonates today. Through archival footage, early “race films,” and heartbreaking personal interviews, award-winning filmmaker Nancy Buirski’s (The Loving Story) passionate documentary shines a light on a case that became a turning point in the early Civil Rights Movement, and on the many formidable women—including Rosa Parks—who brought the movement to life. (Dir. by Nancy Buirski, 2017, USA, 91 mins., Not Rated)

Stephanie Troutman – Dr. Stephanie Troutman is a Black feminist scholar and first-generation college student. An advanced junior faculty member, she joins the RCTE program as Assistant Professor of Emerging Literacies. A former high school and middle grades public school teacher, Stephanie is a scholar-activist who has been recognized with numerous awards for teaching, mentorship/student advocacy, and social justice leadership. Dr. Troutman is also the co-director of Wildcat Writers and The Southern Arizona Writing Project (SAWP.) Both of these programs are outreach partnerships between The University of Arizona English Department and the larger Tucson (schooling/ educational) community. Active across multiple fields, Stephanie serves on the Strategic Planning Committee of the National Women’s Studies Association and on their Women of Color Leadership Project Advisory Board.

Annie Sykes – When Annie Sykes was 14, she became a “Standard Oil Gas Girl” which, in 1965, was for a black girl a rarity. She lived through the Civil Rights movement working for the YWCA and continued her lifelong commitment to non-profit service organizations when she came to Tucson. In 1973, she went to work for the Pima County Juvenile Court System. Two years later, she was a Housing Counselor for the Tucson Urban League, all the while volunteering with the Ododo Theater, a black theater group in town. In 1976, joining with Alison Hughes, she became a charter member of the Black Women’s Task Force, under the umbrella of the Tucson Women’s Commission. Her next professional appointment was with the Young Women’s Company, an organization which trained young women to work in non-traditional jobs, such as painting, plastering, electrical wiring, and landscaping. She became a YWCA board member during that time and served as Secretary when Iris Dewhurst was President. Later she was a member of the Clarion Newspaper Board, southern Arizona’s only feminist newspaper. Today, the Black Women’s Task Force still raises consciousness, awards scholarships to African-American young women, and distributes computers to needy youth.