Claudette Colvin was actually the first African American woman to stand up before the segregation laws, refusing to give up her seat to a white passenger. There was not so much noise about what she did because of her age. At that time she was only fifteen years old and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People decided that it would be better not to use her case in their fight against segregation laws. The fact that she became pregnant at the time of her trial didn’t benefit her case either.
Born on September 5, 1939, Claudette grew up in a poor neighbourhood, but she did study hard and went to college. One night when she was on the bus, she refused to move to the back and give up her seat to a white passenger. Despite being scared, she had the courage to stand up for her rights. Of course, she was arrested and spent the night in prison. She went to court, where she pleaded not guilty. The court’s verdict, however, was ‘guilty’ but Claudette was released on probation. Unfortunately, the bad reputation she gained during the trial made her leave school and also created problems for her while looking for a job.
She was also one of the four plaintiffs in the Browder v. Gayle case, which helped a lot for the segregation fight. She moved to New York, had her second son, and after working as a nurse, she retired in 2004.
Although Claudette’s act of bravery actually happened nine moths before Rosa Parks’ it wasn’t widely recognized. However, she prepared people and gave them the moral support they needed to stand up against segregation after Rosa Parks` case.