Avenger of the Week | Claudette Colvin

The Visibility Project, Claudette Colvin [public domain],  via Wikimedia Commons

The Visibility Project, Claudette Colvin [public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Ask any adult or school-aged child who refused to give up her seat on the bus during the civil rights movement, and they’ll surely answer Rosa Parks, but she wasn’t the first. Months before Ms. Park’s quiet, powerful protest, 15-year-old Claudette Colvin refused to give up her seat to a white women while riding the city bus home from school. Colvin’s subsequent arrest and jailing led the NAACP to consider using her case to fight segregation laws, but they ultimately decided against it given her young age. Even though Colvin’s legacy is not as well known as that of Rosa Parks, the events of that day followed Colvin throughout her life. She was labeled a troublemaker because of her actions, which made it difficult for her to find a job and led to her move from the south to New York several years later.

Of the experience, Colvin later stated to Newsweek, “I felt like Sojourner Truth was pushing down on one shoulder and Harriet Tubman was pushing down on the other—saying, 'Sit down girl!' I was glued to my seat.”

9 months before Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus, 15-year-old Claudette Colvin did the same, but she received none of the recognition. This week, we honour her action. #AvengerOfTheWeek #GenderAvenger https://www.genderavenger.com/blog/avenger-of-the-week-claudette-colvin