Being Black

Refusing Her Seat on the Bus


  • When we think of the first woman to refuse her seat on the bus, the first person that comes to mind is Rosa Parks.
  • Before Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus, December 1, 1955, Claudette Colvin did it March 2,1955.
  • Colvin was a 15 year old student at Booker T. Washington High School
  • She relied on the city’s Gold & Green buses to get to and from school because her family didn’t have a car
  • Coming home from school, Colvin got on a Montgomery bus and sat two seats away from the emergency exit


  • Four whites got on the bus and the bus driver asked Colvin and 3 other black passengers to get up and let the whites have their seats.
  • Colvin didn’t move.
  • Other black passengers said “She didn’t say anything. She just continued to look out the window…”
  • She was then removed from the bus by 2 police officers and taken to jail.
  • “I’d moved for white people before”, stated by Colvin. On that particular day, she thought about the slavery fighters she had just read about.
  • “It felt like Sojourner Truth was on one side pushing me down, and Harriet Tubman was on the other side of me pushing me down. I couldn’t get up” Colvin said.

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