Mike Burke

It Really was Her and NOT Rosa Parks


Everyone knows the story of Rosa Parks and her brave stand — or, sit — on that Alabama bus. But Parks wasn’t the first to do so.

On March 2, 1955, a 15-year-old Claudette Colvin was riding home from school when the city bus driver told her to give up her seat to a white passenger. She refused, saying, “It’s my constitutional right to sit here as much as that lady. I paid my fare, it’s my constitutional right.” Colvin felt compelled to stand her ground. “I felt like Sojourner Truth was pushing down on one shoulder and Harriet Tubman was pushing down on the other—saying, ‘Sit down girl!’ I was glued to my seat,” she later told Newsweek.

According to biography.com, the NAACP briefly considered using Colvin’s case to challenge the segregation laws, but it decided against it because of her age.