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Claudette Colvin Biography

Claudette Colvin Biography (1939–)

Claudette Colvin is an activist who was a pioneer in the Civil Rights Movement in Alabama during the 1950s. She refused to give up her seat on a bus months before Rosa Parks' more famous protest.

Who Is Claudette Colvin? 

Claudette Colvin is a civil rights activist who, before Rosa Parks, refused to give up her bus seat to a white passenger. She was arrested and became one of four plaintiffs in Browder v. Gayle, which ruled that Montgomery's segregated bus system was unconstitutional. Colvin later moved to New York City and worked as a nurse's aide. She retired in 2004.

Early Life

Colvin was born on September 5, 1939, in Montgomery, Alabama. Growing up in one of Montgomery's poorer neighborhoods, Colvin studied hard in school. She earned mostly As in her classes and aspired to become president one day. 

On March 2, 1955, Colvin was riding home on a city bus after school when a bus driver told her to give up her seat to a white passenger. She refused, saying, "It's my constitutional right to sit here as much as that lady. I paid my fare, it's my constitutional right." Colvin felt compelled to stand her ground. "I felt like Sojourner Truth was pushing down on one shoulder and Harriet Tubman was pushing down on the other—saying, 'Sit down girl!' I was glued to my seat," she later told Newsweek. To read more click here.