Recy Taylor, the black woman from Alabama whose rape by six white men drew national attention in 1944, passed away on Thursday morning just days before her 98th birthday on Sunday.
Taylor’s brother, Robert Corbitt, confirmed with NBC News she died in her sleep at a nursing facility in her hometown of Abbeville, Ala.
Taylor was 24 when she was kidnapped at gunpoint and brutally raped by six white men while walking home to her husband and young daughter after a late church service.
“After they messed over and did what they were going to do me, they say, ‘We’re going to take you back. We’re going to put you out. But if you tell it, we’re going to kill you,’” Taylor told NPR in 2011.
The horrific incident ultimately led her spearhead an anti-rape activism movement in the Jim Crow South. With the help of Rosa Parks — who was assigned the case by the NAACP — Taylor took on her attackers in court.
Two all-white, all-male grand juries decline to indict the white men who admitted to authorities that they assaulted her.
Over 70 years later, in 2011, Taylor finally received an apology from The Alabama Legislature, who passed a resolution apologizing.