Untold Story Of A Black Girl: Claudette Colvin, Who Led The Way For Rosa Parks

If there happens to be one thing which is never ever left out in African history, it would be the fact that black people, long before now, have suffered segregation, humiliation, exploitation, cruel treatment, and brutal maltreatment at the hands of the whites, or Caucasians as they are mostly called, all because of their different and unique skin tone.

The liberation of black Africans and the freedom that they now have indeed came at a price, an extremely huge price. Over time, we have seen and heard of heroes who gave their best and some of their all, including their lives, just to make sure that blacks are valued and that they’ re free and able to be treated as humans and not objects that can be owned or animals that can be co- owned and pushed around. Today, history brings us the tale of a teenage hero who, in her own little way, contributed to the liberation of blacks. Let’ s see how she did it and who she is.

Claudette Colvin

At the age of 86, he was born on September 5, 1939, in Alabama, United States of America. Claudette Colvin was a nurse assistant before her retirement and a civil rights activist in the United States in the 1950s. She became quite well known and popular. On March 2nd, 1955, she was arrested in Montgomery, Alabama, at the age of 15, for refusing to give up her seat on a crowded, segregated bus to a white woman.

This incident reportedly happened nine months before Rosa Parks, the secretary of the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), helped to start the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott. Up until this very day, Claudette Colvin has never received the accolades she deserves for her contributions to the civil rights movement in the United States. She is, however, regarded as ” the first lady of civil rights” and ” the mother of the freedom movement” after her arrest on the 1st of December 1955.

The Bus Incident

On December 1st, 1955, Claudette Colvin, who was at that time 15 years old, was allegedly arrested on the account that she refused to give up her seat and move to the back of the bus where blacks sat in order to make room for a white lady, which was, at that time, a normal and required thing for blacks to do.

But when 15- year old Claudette Colvin refused to give up her seat on a crowded, segregated bus to a white lady, she stunned the passengers as it was rare to witness a black person opposing a white person in a country ruled by whites.

Despite the fact that she was jailed for violating Jim Crow laws and the incident was widely publicized, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) declined to utilize her as a spokesperson since she was 15 and pregnant.

When asked how she managed to summon such courage and stand up to a white person, the young lady narrated that she was motivated by what she had learnt in school about African American history and the Constitution, which concerned Black History Month.

Reaction To The NAACP’ s Decision

Critics believe that the NAACP’ s refusal to accept Colvin as the first black person to stage a bus protest is a violation of the organization’ s founding principles. Many people, like Claudette Colvin, believe that Rosa Parks’ Montgomery bus protest became well- known because the NAACP saw her as ” the perfect example” for promoting the civil rights campaign.

Colvin Narrates Her Ordeal On The Bus

Colvin stated that the bus driver asked her to give up her seat on March 2, 1955, but she resisted, claiming she’ d paid her fare and it was her constitutional right. This resulted in her imprisonment.

All I remember was that I was going to walk off the bus voluntarily, ” she narrated.

It was Black History Month, and her segregated school had been studying black leaders like Harriet Tubman, an escaped slave who guided more than 70 slaves to freedom through the Underground Railroad’ s network of safe houses.

The class also examined the daily injustices they faced as a result of Jim Crow segregation laws. You won’ t be able to eat at a lunch counter or ride on a segregated bus, for example. Colvin was extremely inspired, and she resolved to fight for her human rights.

” We weren’ t able to try on outfits, ” Colvin explains. You have to draw a diagram of your foot on a brown paper bag and take it to the retailer. Can you fathom what’ s going on in my head? My mind was simply too full of black history, of the oppression we had endured. On one hand, it felt like Sojourner Truth was forcing me down, and on the other hand, Harriet Tubman was pushing me down. I couldn’ t get out of bed. “

Colvin further recalled the moment the jail door shut behind him. She describes it as ” exactly like a Western movie. “

Then I became terrified, fear set in, and I began to cry. Then I began to recite the Lord’ s Prayer, ” she explains.

Phil Hoose, a well- known novelist, wrote a book called ” Twice Toward Justice” to raise awareness of Claudette Colvin, her commitment to the civil rights movement, and the NAACP’ s treachery.

” In the same city, in the same bus system, with very tough consequences, hauled off the bus, handcuffed, jailed, and nobody knew about it, ” Hoose couldn’ t get over the fact that nine months before Rosa Parks, there was this teenager ” in the same city, in the same bus system, with very tough consequences, hauled off the bus, handcuffed, jailed, and nobody knew about it. “

Colvin, he says, is also important because she fought the ordinance in court, as one of four female plaintiffs in Browder v. Gayle, the court case that effectively abolished Montgomery and Alabama’ s bus segregation regulations.

When asked why she isn’ t as well- known as Rosa Parks as a civil rights figure, Colvin says the NAACP and other black organizations thought Parks would be a wonderful choice since ” she had reached adulthood. ” They didn’ t believe teenagers could be trusted.

Parks also had the proper hair and appearance, according to her.

” She had the kind of skin texture that people identify with the middle class, ” Colvin adds. ” She met that description. “

Thanks for reading.

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