Claudette Colvin: The Unsung Hero

Claudette Colvin: The Unsung Hero

The Girl Who Should Have Taken The Civil Rights Movement By Storm

With Black History Month in full swing and Rosa Park's birthday just behind us, it dawned on me to educate those who aren't aware of the girl who first refused to move her seat. With prejudice and injustice still prevalent and the #BlackLivesMatter movement becoming more powerful than ever (looking at you, Beyonce!), some of the original Civil Rights Movement heroes are worth learning more about. Most of us know the story of Rosa Parks, but few know the story of Claudette Colvin.

Hero, who?

Montgomery, Alabama was the first U.S. city to have a fully segregated transportation system, as of 1906. Claudette was poor but worked her butt off in school getting mostly As. She even dreamt of someday becoming the president.

In 1955, 15-year-old Claudette Colvin thought this law, and other laws supporting segregation, were totally violating her constitutional rights. On March 2nd that same year, Claudette took the bus home with three kids from school. There were not yet any white people on the bus, so the middle section was free for Claudette to sit down. The rules stated that the front 10 seats of the bus were reserved for white passengers, and after they were filled, black passengers had to give up their middle and/or rear seat to a white person.

When a white woman stepped on the bus on that ever so important March afternoon, Claudette refused to move her seat. She was escorted off the bus by the authorities a few blocks following and was arrested. She was charged with disorderly conduct, violating the segregation law, and with assaulting the policemen who had dragged her off the bus.

If it weren't for her age, the NAACP may have reconsidered not challenging the segregation laws that made her case in the first place. It also didn't help that Claudette became pregnant in the few months after her arrest.

She was branded as a trouble-maker. The little-known reputation she had was destroyed. She dropped out of college and had extreme difficulty finding work.

It sounds like Claudette was doomed to live in the shadows forever and never help end segregation, right?


Claudette became one of four plaintiffs in the Browder vs. Gayle case. If that doesn't already sound familiar, the 1956 case went to the Supreme Court and deemed that Montgomery's segregation laws were unconstitutional.

Hero, why?

You may be confused as to why Rosa Parks became the face of the Civil Rights Movement, even though her actions took place 9 months later.

Claudette's "troublemaking" reputation, deep complexion, and nappy hair, wasn't widely accepted by the vast majority, not even her own community. Unfortunately, 15 year old activists are sometimes labeled as plain rebellious, especially when they become teen moms in such a conservative time period. Her acts were seen as a scandal, rather than a courageous stride.

Rosa Parks was educated, light-skinned, older, and seen as a wiser member of the community. She was well respected, unlike Claudette Colvin. MLK even endorsed Rosa Parks as a figurehead of the Civil Rights Movement.

Without Colvin’s bravery, Parks may not have had the means, preparation, or knowledge to prevail. I'm not saying that Rosa Parks isn't hella important. I'm just saying Claudette Colvin is HELLA important, too! You go, girl.


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I'm The Girl Who'd Rather Raise A Family Than A Feminist Protest Sign

You raise your protest picket signs and I’ll raise my white picket fence.

Social Media feeds are constantly filled with quotes on women's rights, protests with mobs of women, and an array of cleverly worded picket signs.

Good for them, standing up for their beliefs and opinions. Will I be joining my tight-knit family of the same gender?

Nope, no thank you.

Don't get me wrong, I am not going to be oblivious to my history and the advancements that women have fought to achieve. I am aware that the strides made by many women before me have provided us with voting rights, a voice, equality, and equal pay in the workforce.

SEE ALSO: To The Girl Who Would Rather Raise A Family Than A Feminist Protest Sign

For that, I am deeply thankful. But at this day in age, I know more female managers in the workforce than male. I know more women in business than men. I know more female students in STEM programs than male students. So what’s with all the hype? We are girl bosses, we can run the world, we don’t need to fight the system anymore.

Please stop.

Because it is insulting to the rest of us girls who are okay with being homemakers, wives, or stay-at-home moms. It's dividing our sisterhood, and it needs to stop.

All these protests and strong statements make us feel like now we HAVE to obtain a power position in our career. It's our rightful duty to our sisters. And if we do not, we are a disappointment to the gender and it makes us look weak.

Weak to the point where I feel ashamed to say to a friend “I want to be a stay at home mom someday.” Then have them look at me like I must have been brain-washed by a man because that can be the only explanation. I'm tired of feeling belittled for being a traditionalist.


Because why should I feel bad for wanting to create a comfortable home for my future family, cooking for my husband, being a soccer mom, keeping my house tidy? Because honestly, I cannot wait.

I will have no problem taking my future husband’s last name, and following his lead.

The Bible appoints men to be the head of a family, and for wives to submit to their husbands. (This can be interpreted in so many ways, so don't get your panties in a bunch at the word “submit”). God specifically made women to be gentle and caring, and we should not be afraid to embrace that. God created men to be leaders with the strength to carry the weight of a family.

However, in no way does this mean that the roles cannot be flipped. If you want to take on the responsibility, by all means, you go girl. But for me personally? I'm sensitive, I cry during horror movies, I'm afraid of basements and dark rooms. I, in no way, am strong enough to take on the tasks that men have been appointed to. And I'm okay with that.

So please, let me look forward to baking cookies for bake sales and driving a mom car.

And I'll support you in your endeavors and climb to the top of the corporate ladder. It doesn't matter what side you are on as long as we support each other, because we all need some girl power.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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10 Pieces Of Advice From Kid President That Got Us Through Our Toughest Days

He might be young, but he's so wise.


The Kid President made his debut in 2012 and has impacted many lives with his positivity and kind words. He provides insight into negative situations and gives us all words to live by. Here are 10 times his words helped us get through the day.

1. When we didn't want to follow through with plans.


We've all been in the position where we had a bad day and wanted to cancel our plans. People want you there, so it's true: just you being there does make it awesome.

2. When you felt like you were struggling as a parent.


Your kids love you as a parent. They look up to you and value everything you do! Realistically, you're doing a great job and your kids see it, too.

3. When you felt like quitting.


You might be an adult, but there's still a force within you to keep you going.

4. When you felt overwhelmed.


Kid President gives great advice when it comes to being stressed: pause, breathe, love. It only takes a few minutes to pause and breathe in order to get back on track.

5. When you felt like you didn't matter.


You're here for a reason and have a spot on this planet, you matter.

6. When you saw your cousin post something political on Facebook.


Post-election Facebook was a battleground full of insults and disagreements. It's okay to disagree, but there's no reason for us to go out of our way to make someone else feel bad about their position.

7. When you someone cut you off driving and you want to hawk them down.


... then don't do it. Plain and simple. It won't do anyone any good to go after someone for something that really isn't a big deal.

8. When you felt like no one was listening.


You have so much to say and share, people will listen, especially if you have good things to say.

9. When you felt like you didn't know what you're doing.


If you're wearing pants and have toilet paper, you're doing a good job being an adult.

10. When you needed encouragement to get up.


Straight to the point, let's do it. You don't have to do it alone, but you have to do it.

Kid President is the king of good advice. It's all put in simple terms because we don't need to complicate anything anymore.

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