Alabama

Claudette Colvin’s legacy in Montgomery

I’ve been glad to see that Claudette Colvin is receiving her much-deserved honor and recognition. At just 15 years old, Colvin was arrested in March 1955, nine months before Rosa Parks, for refusing to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama bus to a white man.  A WSFA-TV report from last week explained that a group working to revitalize the King Hill neighborhood “is renovating Colvin’s rundown childhood home and hopes to transform it into the Claudette Colvin Park and Garden.” The street in King Hill where she grew up was renamed in her honor several years ago.

I got to meet Claudette Colvin back in 2005 when Dr. Georgette Norman, then-director of the Rosa Parks Museum, arranged for my students to interview her on the 50th anniversary of her arrest. (Colvin attended the high school where I teach.) Tapes of those interviews were donated to the Civil Rights archives kept by the late Dr. Gwen Patton at the Trenholm University library. The students’ responsive writings were published in the anthology, Taking the Time: Young Writers and Old Stories, which was funded by grants from the Gannett Foundation and the Teaching Tolerance program at the Southern Poverty Law Center.

 

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