Remembering Rosa Parks … And Claudette Colvin.
Read this article for information you may not have known (I hadn’t know):
Today is the fifty-fifth anniversary of the day that Rosa Parks was asked to move to the back of a Montgomery, Alabama city bus, and refused.
Rosa Parks is well worth remembering, of course, and she is well remembered. But it’s also worth remembering Claudette Colvin, who took the same stand earlier that year.
In the spring of 1955, Claudette Colvin was a junior at Booker T. Washington High School in Montgomery. On March 2 of that year, on her way home from school, she was told to move to the back of the bus to allow a white person to take her seat.
Like Rosa Parks nine months later, she refused. Like Rosa Parks, she was arrested.
So why do we know Parks’ name and not Colvin’s?
Because where Parks was a 42-year-old civil rights activist, Colvin was a 15-year-old schoolkid.
Because where Parks was a respectable married woman with a good job, Colvin was poor … and would shortly become pregnant by an older, married man.
Because where Parks responded to injustice with quiet dignity, Colvin responded with noisy anger.