Women’s History Month: Claudette Colvin, Civil Rights Pioneer

Claudette Colvin is a civil rights pioneer. On March 2, 1955, she refused to give up her bus seat for a white woman on an overcrowded segregated bus.  She was 15.  Colvin took this action a few months prior to the incident with Rosa Parks.  She is among five plaintiffs originally noted in the civil rights case spearheaded by attorney Fred Gray in February 1956 (Browder v Gayle) which took up the issue of bus segregation in the city.  The case made its way to the Supreme Court where the segregation laws were deemed unconstitutional.  Three days after that judgement was made SCOTUS issued the order for Montgomery (as well as the whole state of Alabama) to end bus segregation.

An interview with Claudette:

I was able to pull up a newspaper entry regarding the guilty verdict in her case: 19 Mar 1955 Alabama Journal (Montgomery) Page 13 – Claudette Colvin

 

If you would like to learn more about Claudette Colvin, here are some useful links:

Biography: Claudette Colvin

Before Rosa Parks, A Teenager Defined Segregation On An Alabama Bus

A book on Colvin: Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice

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