It is important to know that even though famous Civil Rights activists like Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks are no longer with us, others who were key parts of the movement, people like Ruby Bridges and Claudette Colvin are still very much alive, and about the age of your grandparents! The Civil Rights movement is not as far back in history as we might think, and we still have so much work to do, but we need to be so thankful for brave people like 15-year-old Claudette Colvin, who actually refused to give up her seat on the bus to a white person a whole 9 months before Rosa Parks did! Colvin was also arrested and charged with “disturbing the peace” and violating segregation laws, as she yelled that her rights were being violated and fought back as she was being forcibly removed from the bus by white police officers. Unfortunately, the brave and bold Claudette did not receive credit or publicity for her pioneering activism because she was seen as a less “marketable” representative of the Black community than Rosa Parks–Colvin was young, darker-skinned, and pregnant and unmarried. Rosa Parks was considered less “threatening” to white people, so her refusal to stand got all of the press at the time and began the bus boycott. However, Claudette Colvin and 4 other women were the plaintiffs in the Supreme Court case that eventually overturned bus segregation, and ever since, Colvin and her family have been fighting for the recognition she deserves. Young people should not be seen as less respectable than older people, and Claudette Colvin is as much of a lion in the Civil Rights movement as Rosa Parks, and should be celebrated alongside her.
To learn more about Claudette Colvin: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V3NvXzFOb6w
Why do some people feel like they have the right to treat people disrespectfully, just because they are younger, a different race, a different gender, etc?
Claudette Colvin is not the only person in history who was “written out of history” because her story wasn’t as “simple” or “acceptable” to (usually) white people. How does it feel to learn that history doesn’t always tell the whole truth?
Closing prayer: Dear God, we are thankful for brave Black women like Claudette. She was written out of the story, and this happens a lot. Help us write her, and others like her, back in. Amen.