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bio_colvin2.jpgClaudette at the age when she was arrested.

profile_colvin.jpgprofile_colvin.jpgClaudette as an elderly woman
Claudette Colvin is one of the greatest American heroes of the Civil Rights Movement. Although some of you have maybe never heard of her, I don't blame you. She was a very important, strong African American girl, who stood up to segregation and bigotry during her time. Ms. Colvin was born in 1940. As a young girl she was kind of shy, very skinny, and not really sure of herself. But Claudette soon grew out of that stage and became a very powerful young lady.

When Claudette was in the 9th grade, she wrote an amazing class essay that was an assignment for the whole class. Now remember, this piece of writing was very well written. It was an essay about how she felt about herself. She said that she was proud to be an African American, and also about all the ridiculous rights that were taken away from her. Once she was done with the essay, the teacher read it out loud to the class and everyone laughed and said she was stupid and wrong. A main thing she said in the essay was how she thought it was wrong she couldn't wear her hair a certain way. So what she did was go home and come back the next day wearing her hair the way she wanted.

This incident really started Claudette off on her Civil Rights ways. After she did that, her boy friend broke up with her, she wasn't
allowed to perform in the school play, and most of all she was now taking loads of harassment from her peers. Claudette now had to become a real strong individual. The next thing that really set her off was how her and her sister wanted so badly to go to the rodeo. It was a huge thing to them. Claudette's dad even bought then both cowboy shoes and rodeo hats to be prepared for it. All of that, just to be denied her rights to go, "No blacks are to attend the rodeo" is what she was told. This was heart breaking news for Claudette. She was furious.

Now that Claudette had really been exposed to the racial segregation towards her, she became even more mature with the subject, and how she was going to handle it from now on. The big incident that Claudette Colvin is well known for took place on March 2, 1955. This was a day to remember. Claudette had been at the Dexter Avenue Church, and when she was done there, she waited at the bus stop just out side. Soon she boarded the bus and took a seat right in the middle. Across from her, in the same aisle was a white lady, and sitting in the same aisle as a white lady is against the law. Next, a colored lady who was pregnant boarded the bus. She sat down next to Claudette in an empty seat right next to her. The bus driver turned around and said "Hey, you, get up, move, now". Claudette just sat there, and didn't respond. People all around her were advising her to get up before it turned ugly, she had no responses. The bus driver then called the police to come. A traffic patrolman came in and had two black men in the back get up so the pregnant lady could have a seat. This left Claudette all alone sitting. The patrolman asked if she was going to get up, she said no, and he couldn't act because he didn't have the jurisdiction to do that. Then, the driver called a fully authorized police man, he soon arrived. He told her to get up and she responded: "No, I don't need to get up, I paid the fare just like everyone else did, I don't need to get up, It's my Constitutional Rights to sit here, It's My rights!!" Those were pretty much her last words of the day because she was then arrested and fined.

Bibliography- colvin
Levine, Ellen. Freedoms Children. New York. Puffin Books. 1993.