Today’s walk is dedicated to Claudette Colvin and every Black woman who has ever felt invisible or who has ever been asked to labor on behalf of a movement that did not welcome or celebrate you. Thank you for your service and the way you show up for your people. Today you are seen and appreciated.
On March 2, 1955, Claudette Colvin, a 15-year-old student, boarded a bus home from school and on that ride changed the course of history by refusing to give up her bus seat to a white woman. Her actions set in motion a critical legal battle. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. made his political debut fighting her arrest and Claudette became one of five plaintiffs in the first federal court case to challenge bus segregation in the city of Montgomery.
But this isn’t the story that history has told. It would be Rosa Parks whose name would ultimately go on record as the woman whose single act of courage inspired the most effective political and social protest campaign of the civil rights movement, The Montgomery Bus Boycotts.
So why wasn’t 15-year-old Claudette Colvin given her proper due? The reasons will outrage you, but the story is necessary to tell. The lessons to be learned are critical if we ever want to build a world that truly makes space for Black girls and women to show up as we are. This is going to be a conversation that you don’t want to miss! We will be serving up truth, a whole lotta love, and a little bit of justice. All in the name of our good and faithful sister, Claudette.
Join the second edition of GirlTrek’s Black History Bootcamp at blackhistorybootcamp.com to receive specially curated emails with inspiring words, survival tips, speeches + dedicated songs to listen to for each episode. Together we will discover the stories and explore the pivotal moments from some of the most powerful movements in Black history.
Disclaimer: We do not own the rights to the music or speech excerpts played during this broadcast. Original content can be found here:
Chantay Savage – I Will Survive:
2005 Claudette Colvin and Dr. Marion Woods at the San Francisco Public Library: