Claudette Colvin

Quick Look At Colvin

Claudette Colvin was an essential figure in the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Civil Rights movement as a whole, at only 15 years old.

Early Life

Claudette Colvin was born September 5, 1939, in Montgomery, Alabama. Colvin was a scholar and aimed to one day become President. On March 2, 1955, Colvin sat on a city bus to make her way home from school, when the bus driver asked her to give up her seat for a white passenger. She didn't move. She told the bus driver, "It's my constitutional right to sit here as much as that lady. I paid my fare, it's my constitutional right." She was only 15 and she had the bravery to get on that bus and stand her ground. Colvin was arrested on multiple charges, including, but not limited to violating the city's transit segregation laws. Her minister bailed her out after she sat in jail for several hours. Colvin had been learning about Black history in her school before this, for Black History Month. Here, she heard about Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth, which is likely what inspired her to take a stand and work toward change. The NAACP considered using Colvin's case to fight against segregation, but they decided against it because of her age. They also thought that the fact that she was pregnant at 15 would attract too much negative attention to the young teen. When Colvin went to court, she did her part to fight against the transit segregation law by pleading not guilty. Unfortunately, the court decided she was in fact guilty and put her on probation given that she was a minor, but her court case destroyed her reputation. She was labeled as a trouble maker, and she was later forced to drop out of college. Despite the outcome of her case, change was made. The famous Montgomery Bus Boycott occurred nine months later, and Colvin, a fifteen-year-old girl, was an inspiration for the entire movement.


In 1958, Colvin moved to New York City where she had her second son Randy and became a nurse's aide. She stayed with her career until 2004 when she retired. Since her revolutionary act of bravery, a book has been written to tell Colvin's story called "Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice."

Claudette Colvin made an outstanding change and she is an inspiration to many young people who may not yet realize their full potential.