Claudette Colvin

Claudette Colvin

Twice Toward Justice

Book - 2009 | 1st ed.
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"When it comes to justice, there is no easy way to get it. You can't sugarcoat it. You have to take a stand and say, 'This is not right.'" - Claudette Colvin

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.
Based on extensive interviews with Claudette Colvin and many others, 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.

Claudette Colvin is the 2009 National Book Award Winner for Young People's Literature and a 2010 Newbery Honor Book.

Publisher: New York : Melanie Kroupa Books, c2009.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780374313227
Branch Call Number: B COLVIN CLAUDETTE
Characteristics: 133 p. : ill. ; 24 x 22 cm.


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IndyPL_SteveB Dec 07, 2018

Indiana native Phillip Hoose won a well-deserved National Book Award for Children’s Literature for this biography of Claudette Colvin. Colvin was a 15-year-old high school student who took the same action that Rosa Parks did -- refusing to give up her seat on the bus -- but *9 months earlier* in 1955 – and on her own, without the backing of the NAACP’s attorneys, without any planning at all. She was just standing up for her rights, as she had learned them in school. Colvin was arrested and charged with violating the city’s segregation laws. She lost her case, but her story did not end.

Rosa Parks’s action started the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which has been credited with ending segregated buses in Montgomery. But in reality, Hoose points out, the boycott went on unsuccessfully for nearly a year. The segregation was ended instead by a famous Federal Court case: *Browder vs. Gayle*, where Colvin was the most important witness.

While Rosa Parks and others became famous, Claudette Colvin did not. She moved to New York City and was largely forgotten until this biography. The book is based on interviews with Colvin (and a lot of other research) and is especially good at revealing the constant prejudice and daily personal threats against young black people in the 1950’s.

In 1955, in Montgomery, Alabama, black teenager Claudette refused to give up her seat on the bus to a white woman. Nine months later, Rosa Parks did the same thing, sparking off the Montgomery bus boycott and changing the face of the South. Why do we all know Rosa Parks, but not Claudette Colvin?


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