Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice
On March 2, 1955, an impassioned teenager, fed up with the daily injustices of Jim Crow segregation, refused to give her seat to a white woman on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama. Instead of being celebrated as Rosa Parks would be just nine months later, fifteen-year-old Claudette Colvin found herself shunned by her classmates and dismissed by community leaders. Undaunted, a year later she dared to challenge segregation again as a key plaintiff in Browder v. Gayle, the landmark case that struck down the segregation laws of Montgomery and swept away the legal underpinnings of the Jim Crow South.
Claudette Colvin is based on extensive interviews with Claudette Colvin and many others. Author Phillip Hoose presents the first in-depth account of an important yet largely unknown civil rights figure, skillfully weaving her dramatic story into the fabric of the historic Montgomery bus boycott and court case that would change the course of American history. [Description from Powells.com]
“Phil Hoose, who has done pioneering work in bringing to our attention the crucial role of young people in social movements, here tells the extraordinary, yet little-known story of Claudette Colvin, who, even before the famous incident involving Rosa Parks, sparked the historic bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama. Claudette Colvin was a remarkable teenager. With great courage she acted upon her principles — and played a significant role in the drama of the civil rights movement. This is a story that if taught in every classroom in the nation, might well inspire a new generation of young activists to join the on-going struggle for social justice.” —Howard Zinn, author of A People’s History of the United States
“Phil Hoose’s profile of the remarkable Claudette Colvin is MUST reading for anyone still imbued with hope. She is a lighthouse in a stormy sea.” —Studs Terkel, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Good War
Credit: By Phillip Hoose. Published by Farrar Straus Giroux, 2009.
Type: Book – Biographies
Grade Level: 5-6, 7-9
Time Period: 1950 -1974