Radio Diaries: Claudette Colvin – A Teenage “Rosa Parks”

"What makes a hero? Why do we remember some stories and not others?

Consider Claudette Colvin. She was a 15-year-old girl in the segregated city of Montgomery, Alabama. On March 2, 1955, she refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white passenger.

Nine months later, Rosa Parks did the exact same thing. Parks, of course, became a powerful symbol of the civil rights movement. But Claudette Colvin has largely been left out of the history books.

On the 60th anniversary of Claudette’s action on the bus, we bring you her story on NPR’s All Things Considered. It will be available on the Radio Diaries Podcast on Thursday.

In 1956, about a year after Colvin refused to give up her seat, her attorney Fred Gray filed the landmark federal lawsuit Browder v. Gayle. This case ended segregation on public transportation in Alabama. Claudette Colvin was a star witness.”

Listen to the Radio Diary here

Photo 1: Claudette Colvin’s school photo, likely taken in 1953, when she was 13.

Photo 2: A segregated bus in Birmingham, AL. Courtesy of Birmingham Public Library, Dept. of Archives and Manuscripts.

I'm so tired of this.

Do a fucking #yellowout, and #brownout,
Choose a day,
Fuck it, choose a whole fucking week if you want.
Black people will most likely support y’all and remain solid with other POC. For real for real.
But doing either of those movements because you think we don’t see you is, or you want to derail us is,
1. Dumb because it won’t do anything.
And 2. Hurtful because we’d back y’all up if you wanted to have your day.
All POC are important.
It’s like saying that because we have black history month y’all get your own months.
***May is Asian-pacific heritage month
And September 15-October 15 is Hispanic history month.***

Please remember that you can post pictures, but not in the #blackout tags and if you want to, wait to post them in the #brownout or #yellowout tags. To everyone who says it won’t hurt us. Your skin color is beautiful, your culture, magnificent, but THIS IS ABOUT US. WE DONT COME TO YOUR BIRTHDAY TO REMIND EVERYONE THAT WE WERE BORN.

I really just need everyone to calm down and take a step back.
You want a day to stand in solidarity, make one. Tag us so we can support you. And if you don’t have anything nice or empowering to say shut your mouth and sit the hell down. Please respect that and we will respect you.