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Opinion: Before Rosa Parks, Claudette Colvin refused to give up her seat on a bus. She's still on probation. [washingtonpost.com]

 

By Michele L. Norris, The Washington Post, October 26, 2021

Claudette Colvin was 15 years old when she was arrested in Montgomery, Ala., and placed on indefinite probation, after refusing to vacate her seat on a bus so a young White woman could sit down.

This was March 1955 — nine months before Rosa Parks was arrested for violating Alabama’s racial segregation laws after refusing to give up her seat to a White man, an act that sparked the year-long Montgomery Bus Boycott. Parks, who died in 2005, went on to become an icon, widely celebrated as the “mother of the civil rights movement.”

What about Colvin? Though she was one of four female plaintiffs in Browder v. Gayle, the Supreme Court case that overturned Montgomery’s bus segregation laws, her role in challenging the Jim Crow system has been largely overshadowed. What’s worse, Colvin, who is now 82, was never taken off probation.

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