Did Y’all Know… Claudette Colvin

TSL Women’s History Month Honoree

Claudette Colvin

I’m sure most people learned about Rosa Parks in elementary school. During a time in the United States where segregation and Jim Crow laws were normal, she refused to move from her seat on a bus for a white person. She was then arrested and became one of the main faces of the Civil Rights Movement. What you probably didn’t learn in elementary school was that Rosa Parks wasn’t the first to do it.

On March 2, 1955, Claudette Colvin refused to give up her seat on a bus, nine months before Rosa Parks did on December 1, 1955. This took place in Montgomery, AL, the same place where Parks protested. She faced the same consequences as Parks and was arrested. The difference between the two women is that Colvin was only 15 when she refused to give up her seat and Parks was 42. It’s believed by many that Parks became the face of the movement and encouraged the bus boycott instead of Colvin due to maturity and image reasons.

“She was an adult. They didn’t think teenagers would be reliable,” Colvin said to NPR.

Despite the fact that Colvin isn’t as talked about as Parks, had it not been for Colvin, the bus boycott would’ve turned out to be completely different.


By Cierra Lemott, Freshman, Columbia College Chicago

Instagram & Snapchat: @cece.kodak

Written by Cierra Lemott

I'm a professional procrastinator and my hobbies include sleeping, eating, and Netflix binging.

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