Many people think of Rosa Parks as the strong-willed woman who refused to give up her seat, however, Parks was an advocate for change even before that. Parks was a secretary for the NAACP long before this and helped investigate acts stemming from racism and sexism.
In 1944, Parks was sent to investigate the gang rape of Recy Taylor, a black woman from Abbeville, Alabama. Parks ended up founding the “Alabama Committee for Equal Justice for Mrs. Recy Taylor,” based on Taylor’s story. The white perpetrators were never arrested nor indicted for any crimes stemming from this act despite one of the men coming forward and admitting that he was involved.
Parks and Taylor continued to speak out against these acts of hate and the Committee drew national attention to the violence towards black women. Both women continued to advocate for survivors of violence until their death.
Rogers, Laura. “National African American History Month: Remembering Rosa Parks’ Work to Address Sexual Assault.” The United States Department of Justice, 20 Jan. 2021, www.justice.gov/archives/ovw/blog/national-african-american-history-month-remembering-rosa-parks-work-address-sexual-assault.
“Mrs. Recy Taylor (1919-2017).” National Parks Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, www.nps.gov/people/mrsrecytaylor1919-2017.htm.