Black History Month: Claudette Colvin

I kept saying, 'He has no civil right... this is my constitutional right... you have no right to do this.' And I just kept blabbing things out, and I never stopped. That was worse than stealing, you know, talking back to a white… Click To Tweet

In March 2nd 1955, Claudette Colvin was a high school student attending the segregated Booker T. Washington High School in Montgomery Alabama. Returning home from class on city busses, Claudette Colvin was thinking about a school paper she had written on local segregation issues within department stores. Black folk weren’t allowed to use dressing or fitting rooms.

At the time, segregation meant that Black folk were expected to stand in the back of the bus, rather than take up seats up front that were reserved for white people. When a white woman entered the bus, the driver insisted that Colvin move to the back of the bus, and she refused.

Police were called, and Colvin was arrested, and convicted of disturbing the peace, violating the segregation laws, and assault. Colvin insisted, accurately, that there was never any assault. She was bailed out by her reverend, who told her that she had brought the revolution to Montgomery

Colvin was one of the five plaintiff’s in a lawsuit by Fred Gray against the Mayor and city of Montgomery, Alabama which ultimately determined that bus segregation was unconstitutional. The lawsuit made it to the Supreme Court. On November 13th, 1956, The Supreme Court ordered Alabama and Montgomery to desegregate the bus system. This finally happened on December 20th, 1956.

Aila Moireach is a social justice writer and educator. You can find her on facebook or on her blog



Aila is a 30 year old single mum and social justice educator and writer. You can find her on facebook, or on her blog
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