Claudette Colvin – A Brave Advocate for Racial Equality

Most people are familiar with the inspiring story of Rosa Parks, the African-American lady who refused to give up her bus seat in 1955 during the civil rights movement. But did you know that there was actually another who performed the same peaceful protest months earlier?

This other person was Claudette Colvin, a 15-year-old African-American girl. She, too, refused to give up her bus seat to a white passenger and was arrested for doing so.  She then took part in a legal case that helped put a stop to public bus segregation in Montgomery, Alabama. Her brave actions, along with those of many others during the civil rights movement, helped steer the world toward racial equality.

This video tells the story of Claudette’s brave act.

Additional Resources:

  • Here is a biography that tells the inspirational story of Claudette Colvin.
  • Here is a website that tells about the book written about Claudette, which is called “Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice”.

Topics for Discussion:

  • How would you feel if you were asked to give up your seat based on a physical feature over which you had no control?
  • Do you think you’d be brave enough to stand up for what is right even if it meant you’d be arrested?

Take Action:

  • Have a talk with your parents or grandparents about their experience of the civil rights movement.
  • Visit the Civil Rights Movement Veterans website to learn more about this movement, how it has affected people throughout American history, and how it still affects people today.

Teacher Features:

  • Here is a link to a Critical Reading Skills worksheet that you can use for elementary school students.
  • Here is a link to a Critical Reading Skills worksheet that you can use for middle school students.


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