Claudette Colvin is one of the manycivil rights activists who contributed to and pioneered in making big movementstowards the abolition of bus segregation in America. In 1955 she was arrestedfor refusing to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama. Although Rosaparks is most widely known for this act, there are many many unsung heroes whohave done it before her, Colvin perfectly exemplifies an unsung hero. Colvinwas always described as “outspoken” “mouthy” and “feisty”.
Itis because of this in addition to things in her personal life for example shewas a pregnant teenager who was still in school (whom had to ultimately dropout of school because of the incident) that really kept her out of thespotlight. Colvin herself even admitted that her own mother had explained toher to “let Rosa be the one, white people aren’t going to bother rosa, theylike her”. This is a bitter sweet statement in that Rosa is basically going tobe the pioneering face for all the hard work and tribulations other persons ofcolor had to go through. While on the other hand Rosa was honestly the bestfigure to have at the forefront. She was Charismatic and had a “cleaner”background and personal life than Colvin so this basically qualified her forthe role. It was also stated that Parks “more resembled someone who was middleclass”. Colvin was actually one of theplaintiffs in the federal court case filed by civil rights attorney Fred Grayin 1956.
The case went to the united states supreme court where Colvin was thelast to testify. Three days later the supreme court issued an order to thestate of Alabama to end bus segregation. The social conditions of Americansociety during her lifetime were tough mainly because this was around the timeof the American Civil War and abolition of slavery, the United States entered aperiod known as Reconstruction, during which Black Americans continued tosuffer from disenfranchisement, racial segregation, and economic oppression.Beginning in the early 1950s, Black Americans launched a series of majorcampaigns of civil resistance, emphasizing the need for nonviolent protests andcivil disobedience. Colvin’s act is a perfect exemplification of thesedemonstrations. There were also marches, such as the march from Selma toMontgomery, during which activists walked along the 54-mile highway from Selmato Montgomery, Alabama in an effort to display the desire of Black Americans toexercise their constitutional right to vote. Notable civil rights leadersincluded Martin Luther King Jr.
, Malcolm X, Andrew Young, James Farmer, andmore. Therefore Colvin’s actions helped tobasically strike the match that started the fire in the Montgomery Bus Boycottmovement. Colvin was all for change and theadvancement of colored people but her brave act took a toll on her personallife. After the incident Colvin moved to New York with her sonbecause of all the negative feedback from the incident she started getting inher everyday life, she was branded as a trouble maker. After she was forced outof school it also became hard to find work because of her infamous case.Till this day many are still unaware of Colvin’s bravery.Colvin was recently asked if she was upset that Rosa parks took the spotlightand she said that she is not angry that she did not get the recognition shedeserved; rather, she is disappointed.
She said she felt as if she was”getting her Christmas in January rather than the 25th.” But she wasalways very proud of her actions and said that if she had to go back to thatvery same day and refuse to stand up again she would do it.