Claudette Colvin is a pioneer of the African-American civil rights movement. she was the first person arrested for resisting bus segregation in Montgomery, Alabama, preceding the more publicized Rosa Parks incident by nine months.
The bus Claudette Colvin boarded was getting crowded and the bus driver looking through the rear view mirror asked her to get up for the white woman, which she didn’t. She had been yelling ‘It’s my constitutional right’. She decided on that day that she wasn’t going to move. She was handcuffed, arrested and forcibly removed from the bus. She shouted that her constitutional rights were being violated. She was convicted of disturbing the peace, violating the segregation law, and assault.Colvin was also one of four women plaintiffs in the court case. This trial determined that bus segregation in Montgomery, Alabama was unconstitutional.
For a long time, Montgomery’s black leaders did not publicize Colvin’s pioneering effort because she was a teenager and became pregnant while unmarried. Given the social norms of the time and her youth, the NAACP leaders worried about using her to represent their movement.In 2005, She told the Montgomery Advertiser that she would not have changed her decision to remain seated.
“I feel very, very proud of what I did. I do feel like what I did was a spark and it caught on.” “I’m not disappointed,” Colvin said. “Let the people know Rosa Parks was the right person for the boycott. But also let them know that the attorneys took four other women to the Supreme Court to challenge the law that led to the end of segregation.”