A black woman who was brutally gang raped by six white men almost 70 years ago has received an apology from the state for its failure to prosecute her attackers.
The Alabama House unanimously passed a resolution to express its 'deepest sympathies and solemn regrets' to Recy Taylor, who is now 91.
Mrs Taylor, a 24-year-old married mother, was kidnapped at gunpoint as she walked home from church in Abbeville in 1944.
'Solemn regrets': Recy Taylor, 91, yesterday received an apology from the Alabama House almost 70 years after she was raped by a gang of white men
A gang of seven men forced her into their car and drove her to a deserted grove where six of them raped her before dumping her by the side of the road.
Two all-white, all-male grand juries refused to indict the suspects, and police bungled the investigation.
More than six decades on, Mrs Taylor, who lives in Florida, has finally received the apology she always wanted.
Her brother, 74-year-old Robert Corbitt, still lives in Abbeville and has campaigned for years to get some kind of justice for his sister.
He said Mrs Taylor, who was not well enough to be interviewed, is 'very pleased with what's been going on.'
Civil rights activists including Rosa Parks took up her case at the time, launching a mass letter-writing campaign to make the state investigate.
Professor Danielle McGuire, who wrote about her case in a book last year, said the attorney general 'believed the guys were guilty, and they were ready to do something.'
Civil rights battle: The story of Recy Taylor, pictured left as a young woman, was featured in a book by Professor Danielle McGuire
But under Alabama law, a criminal case cannot go ahead without an indictment in the county where the crime happened.
Professor McGuire told The Root: 'They just were not going to indict their neighbours and sons in Abbeville.' No more was ever done.
The strongly-worded resolution, introduced yesterday by black representative Dexter Grimsley, said the failure of the Alabama justice system to prosecute the case 'was, and is, morally abhorrent and repugnant.'
Mr Grimsley, a newly-elected Democrat, said he was pleased the resolution received no opposition. He now plans to present it to Mrs Taylor in a personal visit to Florida.
He said: 'It shows we're all here together in a common goal. It was just the right thing to do.'
It comes a week after two white leaders, Abbeville Mayor Ryan Blalock and Henry County Probate Judge JoAnn Smith, joined Mr Grimsley to apologise to Mrs Taylor for her treatment.
Joint effort: Representative Dexter Grimsley, left, introduced the resolution to the House. Abbeville Mayor Ryan Blalock, right, also apologised to Mrs Taylor
At a news conference with Mrs Taylor's family, Mrs Smith said: 'It is apparent that the system failed you in 1944. I can pray that things would be handled differently now than in the past.'
Looking directly at Mr Corbitt, Mr Grimsley said: 'I would like to extend a deep, heartfelt apology for the error we made here in Alabama.
'It was so unkind. We can't stand around and say that it didn't happen.'
Afterwards Mr Corbitt said: 'What happened to my sister way back then... couldn't happen today.'
Victory: Robert Corbitt, 74, said his sister was 'very pleased' by apologies from the state and city leaders
He said he still vividly remembers his father desperately searching for his daughter on the night of the rape, when he was just nine-years-old.
Mr Corbitt told the Root: 'He came back by the house about three times, and each time, his shirt was wringing with sweat. Nobody slept that night.'
He said two days after the rape, someone threw a fire bomb at the house where his sister lived with her husband and three-year-old daughter.
He said: 'After that, they moved in with us. At night, my father would sit in a tree and guard the house with a shotgun.'
Mrs Taylor lived with her family in Abbeville for 20 years after the attack, in the same community as the men who raped her.
She said she spent years living in fear, and many white people in the town continued to treat her badly, even after her attackers left.
Mrs Taylor eventually moved to Florida, and her brother left for New York.
When Mr Corbitt retired back to Abbeville to New York in 2001, he tried to find files on his sister's case but said he was 'stonewalled' by courthouse officials.
He said: 'They made it seem it was impossible to go back and pull them up. It made me feel terrible that she was still being railroaded.'
'I still don't like what happened. This happened 65, 66 years ago. It has never been a week that went by where it didn't cross my mind.'
He told the Dothan Eagle he kept track of all seven of the men who abducted his sister. He said six have died, and he lost track of the seventh about three years ago.
Mrs Taylor's case came to light again in Professor McGuire's book, At the Dark End of the Street, which tells the stories of black women attacked by white men during the civil rights era.
Professor McGuire, said: 'It was such a miscarriage of justice. It can't hurt that Alabama now recognizes what happened.'
The motion will now go through to the Senate, where it is expected to be passed.
Read more: Recy Taylor receives apology from Alabama for her treatment after she was raped by gang of white men in 1944 | Mail Online