Claudette Colvin was born on September 5, 1939, in Montgomery, Alabama. Colvin led the normal life of a young Black person in the deep South during the 1930s; she was exposed to racism, discrimination, and segregation. But in 1955, Colvin decided to take a stand.
When she was only 15 years old, Colvin staged a protest similar to the one that Rosa Parks would stage nine months later. She was arrested and brought up on several charges after refusing to give up her seat for a White passenger on the bus. Colvin spent several hours in jail before her minister was able to pay her bail.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) diligently considered using Colvin’s case as a means to challenge segregation but decided against it because of her age. Colvin had also become pregnant and the NAACP did not want the negative attention of representing a young, unwed mother.
In opposition to the segregation laws, Colvin pleaded not guilty but the court ruled against her. She was placed on probation (a light punishment) but she could not escape ridicule from the public. She was labeled a troublemaker, forced to quit school, and could not find a job in the time following her protest and trial.
Browder v. Gayle
Colvin and three other Black women later testified in the landmark case Browder v. Gayle which brought about the end of segregation on public buses in Montgomery. Although the four women faced an immense amount of pressure from the public–ultimately causing one woman to withdraw from the case–Montgomery’s segregated bus system was deemed unconstitutional.
Following the landmark decision to desegregate Montgomery’s bus system, Colvin moved to New York where she worked as a nurse’s aide until she retired in 2004. Very few people know of the contribution that she made to the Civil Rights Movement. At the age of 79, Claudette Colvin is still fighting for the recognition that she deserves.
**The views and actions of the DDH historical figures that are featured may not reflect the views and beliefs of Ramiro The Writer or We Buy Black. Thank you.**Thank you all for reading my article. I’m a part of the largest online marketplace for Black-owned businesses called We Buy Black. Similar to Etsy or Amazon, this website allows for Black-owned businesses to create a shop and sell their amazing products to the world! If you have a product, you should definitely join this platform! We Buy Black also has it’s Inaugural We Buy Black Convention happening this November 16th-17th in Atlanta, GA and I hope to see you all there. In fact, I along with hundreds of others will be wearing our official We Buy Black T-shirt, so here’s my gift to you: Get 50% off the official WBB T-shirt using my code WBB2018. Peace, family!