top of page

Claudette Colvin—Black History Month Celebration

Nine months before Rosa Parks was arrested for not giving up her seat on the bus, a 15-year-old girl named Claudette Colvin refused to give up her seat on a city bus in 1955. I was so surprised to hear about this injustice of a teen girl. I never read about her in any book or article in the newspaper. Nobody mentioned her during the Martin Luther King protest. She was so brave yet so young! Her parents were not with her when she refused to give her seat to a white person. There were no older relatives on the bus to protect her or speak to her. She stepped into the muddy waters of protest and anger. These waters help her end up in jail. Later her mother came and bailed her out of jail. I admire the courage of this young lady. There has been a lot of talk about Rosa Parks many articles written about Rosa Parks; however, this 15-year-old girl did the same thing Rosa Parks did only a few months earlier.

Montgomery, Alabama, seems like the perfect spot for trail-blazers of civil rights and human rights activities to live and breed others to step in the cold waters of a criminal justice system filled with discrimination and segregation that had no compassion for black people. I wonder how many young people could put their cell phones down long enough to stand for anything positive for civil rights. We need only look at 2020 to answer that question. Amid a country shut-down due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the murder of George Floyd and others, we see nationwide young people 15 and older marching for a fair and proper justice system.

This quote blew me away, such an old spirit in a young body. She said she felt "women in the struggle for civil rights hundreds of years before her birth, pushing down on her shoulders saying "sit down girl."

Now in her late 60's, Claudette said She did have a chance to sit down with Rosa Parks and discuss the day's challenges. She considered Rosa Parks as her mentor. She said in her story that the bus driver told her to get up and give the seat to a white person. She refused and said to the bus driver, "I know her rights." Not long after that, two police officers put handcuffs on her and took her to jail. Later that evening, her mother picked her up. What a fantastic story! To be that courageous at the age of 15 is incredible. This story highlights another jewel in the Black History Library Hall of Fame.

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page