Claudette Colvin, The Forgotten Story


Adoline Russu

When she arrived in jail, the door slammed shut to her cold, dark cell. Little 15 year old Colvin became scared, and started crying, but began reciting the Lord’s Prayer.

Many people remember who Rosa Parks was and what she did to help end segregation. But, there was a teenage girl who did the same thing  9 months before. That same year, on the same bus system, on March 2, 1955, Claudette Colvin refused to move from her seat.

Colvin was a 15-year-old who regularly took the bus home after school, and one day refused to give up her seat for a white person. The bus driver ordered her to get up, but she replied that it was her seat, and she had paid for that seat, and it was her right according to the constitution. She was put in handcuffs and kicked off the bus by two officers. After her arrest, she was shunned by some of her community and went through many difficulties.

At the time, Colvin was learning about Black leaders in her segregated school. Leaders like Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth were on her mind when she refused to give up her seat on that bus. By challenging the court and the law, her role was important in changing the bus segregation laws in Alabama and Montgomery.

In reality, there were many women like Colvin who refused to give up their seats but didn’t receive the same recognition as Rosa Parks. Most of them were never known and were simply fined for their disobedience . Colvin had been forgotten since she was just a kid. People remembered Rosa Parks more, and thought she was a better icon since she was an adult. There’s many other people who didn’t receive the same recognition that we should remember as well.