Tuesday, April 11
THIS WEEK’S LESSON
Age is no limitation to embarking on your own hero’s journey. Claudette Colvin demonstrated this with her brave act of civil disobedience at 15.
Claudette grew up in segregated Montgomery, Alabama, and experienced firsthand the injustice and violence that African Americans lived under during the 1950s. When she was 15 years old, Claudette boarded a segregated bus on her way home from school. At one stop, the bus driver ordered Claudette and three other Black passengers to give up their seats for white passengers that had boarded the bus. Claudette refused to give up her seat. She later said about the experience, “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 was taken off the bus by two police officers and arrested, all the while fearing for her physical safety. Eventually — with the support of her community — Claudette became a plaintiff in a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of segregated buses, and won the case in the Supreme Court. The case did not get a lot of attention, but it was an important victory for the civil rights movement.