Lest We Forget

Claudette Colvin

On March 2nd 1955, fifteen-year old Claudette Colvin took the bus on her way home. When a white woman boarded the bus Claudette and her friends were told to give their seats to the woman.

That was the law in segregated Montgomery. Black people had to give up an entire row of seats for a single white person. A white person should not need to sit next to a Black person.

Claudette's friends stood up reluctantly. But Claudette refused. The bus driver called the police and the teenage girl was dragged off the bus by the white cops. They hand-cuffed and arrested Claudette - who had paid for the bus ride just like everybody else.

By insisting on her seat she had challenged Montgomery's unjust law of segregation. And by doing so her courage inspired others like Rosa Parks six months later to organize the Montgomery bus boycott.

Read The Guardian's recent article on Claudette Colvin.