Claudette Colvin Rejected Segregation on an Alabama Bus Nine Months Before Rosa Parks

On March 2, 1955, 15-year-old Claudette Colvin refused to move from her seat on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama.

“I paid my fare and it’s my constitutional right,” she recalls. “I remember they dragged me off [the] bus because I refused to walk. They handcuffed me and took me to an adult jail.”

-Claudette Colvin

However, Claudette is not celebrated in the same way Rosa Parks has been, which is largely to due to her being darker toned and pregnant.

“I had a child born out of wedlock; I became pregnant when I was 16,” Colvin says. “And I didn’t fit the image either, of, you know, someone they would want to show off.”

-Claudette Colvin

About a year after Claudette’s refusal to move from her seat, Claudette served as the star witness in the landmark federal case Browder v. Gayle, which ended segregation on public transportation in Alabama.