Claudette Colvin

In honor of Black History Month, every school day The Cardinal will feature a prominent and historical Black American, living or dead, who has worked toward change, advancement, and/or world peace. Some of them are heroes, and some are unsung heroes, who deserve recognition, and have made a contribution to society.


Judith Sanchez, Staff Writer

Claudette Colvin was born on September 5th, 1939, in Montgomery Alabama and was a student at the segregated Booker T. Washington High School. On the way home from school on March 5th, 1955, Claudette was arrested at 15 for not giving up her seat to  a white women in a crowded bus. She was arrested by two police officers and other students on the bus said ‘’she fought like a tigress.’’ She was motivated to go into action by the African American history she was learning in school. She did this nine months before the more recognized Rosa Parks did it, and when the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott which led to a United States Supreme Court decision that declared the Alabama and Montgomery laws that segregated buses were unconstitutional.  Colvin was one of the four plaintiffs in the first federal court case filed by Fred Gray, a civil rights attorney, in which she testified in front of a panel of three judges. The trial went to the Supreme Court on November 13th of the Supreme Court ordered bus segregation and it was decided that bus segregation was unconstitutional under the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Civil rights campaigners really recognize Claudette because she was unmarried and pregnant. And the leaders of the civil rights movements made sure the “most appealing” were seen more than other protesters. She is 83 now and was a nurse’s aide until 2004 when she retired.