History – Claudette Colvin

April 7th, 2011 by Black Gospel Choir
Claudette Colvin

Ms. Colvin lived in Montgomery, Alabama in 1955 and at the age of 15, she refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery bus to a white person, in violation of local law. Her arrest preceded that of Rosa Parks by nine months. The court case stemming from her refusal to give up her seat on the bus, decided by the U.S. District Court, ended bus segregation in Alabama.
Colvin’s pioneering effort was not publicized by Montgomery’s black leaders because she was a teenager, unwed and pregnant.

At age 15 and a student at Booker T. Washington High School in Montgomery, Claudette Colvin was returning from school on March 2, 1955 when she got on a Capital Heights bus downtown (at the same place Parks boarded another bus nine months later). Colvin’s family did own a car, but she relied on the city’s buses to get to school.
Ms. Colvin was sitting in the section where if a white person was found standing the blacks would have to get up and move to the back. When a white women got on the bus and was standing the bus driver, Robert W. Cleere, ordered her along with two other black passengers to get up. She refused and was removed from the bus and arrested by two police officers. When she refused to get up, she was still thinking about a school paper that she had written that day. It was about the prohibition for black people to try on white clothes in department stores.

Claudette Colvin 15yrs

“The bus was getting crowded and 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 a classmate at the time, Annie Larkins Price. “She had been yelling it’s my constitutional right. She decided on that day that she wasn’t going to move.”
Colvin was handcuffed, arrested and forcibly removed from the bus. She shouted that her constitutional rights were being violated.
“Price testified on Colvin’s behalf in the juvenile court case, where Colvin was convicted of violating the segregation law and assault.” “There was no assault,” Price said.

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