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While on assignment for CBS’ 60 Minutes in Alabama, Winfrey visited Taylor’s gravesite in Abbeville, Alabama. She posted photos on Instagram Tuesday night outside of Abbeville Memorial Church of God in Christ and standing in front of Taylor’s grave with hands clasped together.
“I don’t believe in coincidences, but if I did this would be a powerful one,” Winfrey said on Instagram. “To be able to visit her grave so soon after ‘speaking her name ‘sharing her story, a woman I never knew."
Taylor’s granddaughter, Mary Joyce Owens, 59, told NBCBLK Wednesday that she did not know Winfrey was visiting the grave. Though she did not meet with Winfrey, Owens was grateful.
“My heart is just overwhelmed that she [Winfrey] would take time out of her busy schedule to visit my ‘Ma'Dear,’” Owens said in a phone interview. “I could also see my mother’s and sister’s grave in the picture. Just so overwhelming, I just want to thank her.”
At 24 years old, Taylor was abducted and raped by six white men while on her way home from church in 1944. She was threatened and told she would be killed if she reported the horrific incident to authorities.
She made national headlines after going forward with the report. The NAACP sent Rosa Parks to advocate for Taylor, years before she refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery bus. Her attackers were never prosecuted and Taylor passed away in December at age 97.
While speaking on the importance of the #MeToo movement, Winfrey praised Taylor for her courage to speak out against her attackers while accepting the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the Globes.
"And I just hope — I just hope that Recy Taylor died knowing that her truth, like the truth of so many other women who were tormented in those years, and even now tormented, goes marching on,” Winfrey said during the speech.
Members of Congress will honor Taylor by wearing red ‘Recy’ pins at President Donald Trump’s State of the Union Address on Tuesday.