DAILY DOSE OF HISTORY: Claudette Colvin – Civil Rights Activist

Montgomery

Claudette Colvin was born on September 5, 1939, in Montgomery, Alabama. Colvin led the normal life of a young Black person in the deep South during the 1930s; she was exposed to racism, discrimination, and segregation. But in 1955, Colvin decided to take a stand.

Boycott

When she was only 15 years old, Colvin staged a protest similar to the one that Rosa Parks would stage nine months later. She was arrested and brought up on several charges after refusing to give up her seat for a White passenger on the bus. Colvin spent several hours in jail before her minister was able to pay her bail.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) diligently considered using Colvin’s case as a means to challenge segregation but decided against it because of her age. Colvin had also become pregnant and the NAACP did not want the negative attention of representing a young, unwed mother.
Claudette Colvin, Civil Rights Activist, Black History, Black History 365, Bus Boycott, DDH: Daily Dose of History

Trial

In opposition to the segregation laws, Colvin pleaded not guilty but the court ruled against her. She was placed on probation (a light punishment) but she could not escape ridicule from the public. She was labeled a troublemaker, forced to quit school, and could not find a job in the time following her protest and trial.

Browder v. Gayle

Colvin and three other Black women later testified in the landmark case Browder v. Gayle which brought about the end of segregation on public buses in Montgomery. Although the four women faced an immense amount of pressure from the public–ultimately causing one woman to withdraw from the case–Montgomery’s segregated bus system was deemed unconstitutional.

Later Years

Following the landmark decision to desegregate Montgomery’s bus system, Colvin moved to New York where she worked as a nurse’s aide until she retired in 2004. Very few people know of the contribution that she made to the Civil Rights Movement. At the age of 79, Claudette Colvin is still fighting for the recognition that she deserves.
Claudette Colvin, Civil Rights Activist, Black History, Black History 365, Bus Boycott, DDH: Daily Dose of History
**The views and actions of the DDH historical figures that are featured may not reflect the views and beliefs of Ramiro The Writer or We Buy Black. Thank you.**
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