in 1955, 15 year-old Claudette Colvin boarded a Capital Heights bus in Montgomery, Alabama
and became the first person who refused to give up her bus seat to a white person.
she had written a school paper that day,
about the prohibition against blacks' trying on clothing in department stores.
"I remember the bus driver looking through the rear view mirror
asking her to get up out of her seat, which she didn't,"
said classmate Annie Larkins Price.
Claudette remembers "I kept saying,
'He has no civil right... this is my constitutional right... you have no right to do this.'
That was worse than stealing, you know, talking back to a white person."
She was handcuffed, arrested and forcibly removed from the bus.
because Claudette was a teenager and became pregnant while unmarried,
the NAACP leaders worried about using her to represent their movement.
nine months later, Rosa Parks boarded a bus (at the same bus stop as Claudette) and was arrested.
On May 11, 1956, Claudette, along with three other women,
testified in a Montgomery federal court hearing about her actions on the bus
The case was fought all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court,
which declared bus segregation unconstitutional in December 1956.
"I'm not disappointed," Claudette said.
"Let the people know Rosa Parks was the right person for the boycott.
But also let them know that the attorneys took four other women to the Supreme Court
to challenge the law that led to the end of segregation."
- ▼ April (6)
- ► 2011 (35)