• Montse DomínguezMunllonch

ChangeMakers.Claudette Colvin.

ChangeMakers. Claudette Colvin.

On March 2, 1955, she was arrested at the age of 15 in Montgomery, Alabama, for refusing to give up her seat to a white woman on a crowded, segregated bus. This occurred 9 months before the more widely known incident in which Rosa Parks, secretary of the local chapter of the NAACP, helped spark the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott.


So Why was Colvin largely forgotten, while Parks went on to become an icon of the Civil Rights Movement ?

"I don’t think there’s room for many more icons. I think that history only has room enough for certain — you know, how many icons can you choose? So, you know, I think you compare history, like — most historians say Columbus discovered America, and it was already populated. But they don't say that Columbus discovered America; they should say, for the European people, that is, you know, their discovery of the new world. " - Claudette Colvin



Bus Incident

The bus was getting crowded, and I remember the bus driver looking through the rear view mirror asking her [Colvin] to get up for the white woman, which she didn't," said Annie Larkins Price, a classmate of Colvin. "She had been yelling, 'It's my constitutional right!'. She decided on that day that she wasn't going to move." Colvin recalled, "History kept me stuck to my seat. I felt the hand of Harriet Tubman pushing down on one shoulder and Sojourner Truth pushing down on the other." Colvin was handcuffed, arrested, and forcibly removed from the bus. She shouted that her constitutional rights were being violated. Colvin said, "But I made a personal statement, too, one that [Parks] didn't make and probably couldn't have made. Mine was the first cry for justice, and a loud one.


Who is this #remarkablewoman ?

Claudette Colvin (born September 5, 1939) is a retired American nurse aide who was a pioneer of the 1950s civil rights movement.

Colvin was one of five plaintiffs in the first federal court case filed by civil rights attorney Fred Gray on February 1, 1956, as Browder v. Gayle, to challenge bus segregation in the city. In a United States district court, she testified before the three-judge panel that heard the case. On June 13, 1956, the judges determined that the state and local laws requiring bus segregation in Alabama were unconstitutional. The case went to the United States Supreme Court on appeal by the state, and it upheld the district court's ruling on November 13, 1956. One month later, the Supreme Court affirmed the order to Montgomery and the state of Alabama to end bus segregation. The Montgomery bus boycott was then called off.

For many years, Montgomery's black leaders did not publicize Colvin's pioneering effort. She was an unmarried teenager at the time, and was reportedly impregnated by a married man.

Colvin has said, "Young people think Rosa Parks just sat down on a bus and ended segregation, but that wasn't the case at all." It is widely accepted that Colvin was not accredited by the civil rights campaigners at the time due to her pregnancy shortly after the incident, with even Rosa Parks saying "If the white press got ahold of that information, they would have [had] a field day. They'd call her a bad girl, and her case wouldn't have a chance.




Source : Wikipedia.

Curator @munllonch

Pic Claudette Colvin




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