Before Rosa Parks, There Was Claudette Colvin. Colvin, 15, was arrested on March 2, 1955 when she refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery bus to a white person. She was one of the plaintiffs in Browder v. Gayle, the court case that successfully overturned bus segregation laws in Montgomery and Alabama.
"Claudette Colvin is arguably the most humble activist in recorded U.S. history. As a teen, she was the first person arrested for resisting bus segregation. Until recent history, Colvin’s resistance, which preceded Rosa Parks’ arrest by nine months, has not been publicized apparently due to her unwed pregnancy. This year the People’s Organization for Progress honored Colvin in Newark, NJ, thanking her for an unsung commitment to civil rights. http://madamenoire.com Photo Source: Biography
"…as a teenager, I kept thinking, Why don’t the adults around here just say something? Say it so that they know we don’t accept segregation? I knew then and I know now that, when it comes to justice, there is no easy way to get it. You can’t sugarcoat it. You have to take a stand and say, 'This is not right.' And I did." - Claudette Colvin | Portrait: Robert Shetterly
Claudette Colvin: b. 1939; Claudette Colvin is a pioneer of the African-American civil rights movement. In 1955, she was the first person arrested for resisting bus segregation in Montgomery, Alabama, preceding the better known Rosa Parks incident by nine months. Montgomery's black leaders did not publicize Colvin's effort for long because she was a teenager and became an unmarried mother. Given the social norms of the time, the NAACP leaders worried about using her to represent their…