Parkchester/Claudette Colvin


Parkchester is home to a civil rights heroine, whose name and deeds are only known to some. This is her story, excerpted from an NPR article from 2009.

“When Claudette Colvin was a 15-year-old living in Montgomery, Alabama she refused to move to the back of the bus and give up her seat to a white person — nine months before Rosa Parks did the very same thing. Colvin remembers taking the bus home from high school on March 2, 1955, as clear as if it were yesterday. The bus driver ordered her to get up and she refused, saying she’d paid her fare and it was her constitutional right. Two police officers put her in handcuffs and arrested her. Her school books went flying off her lap. “All I remember is that I was not going to walk off the bus voluntarily,” Colvin says.
Colvin then challenged segregation in court, as one of four women plaintiffs in Browder v. Gayle, the court case that successfully overturned bus segregation laws in Montgomery and Alabama. There are many reasons why Claudette Colvin has been pretty much forgotten. She hardly ever told her story when she moved to New York City.”

(To read more, there are many articles and videos online with interviews of Claudette Colvin and a young adults book entitled Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice.)

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