On March 2, 1955, Claudette Colvin was arrested in Montgomery, Alabama, for resisting white-black bus segregation and choosing to sit where she wanted.
Nine months later, Rosa Parks was arrested for the same charge in the same city.
NAACP organisers considered Claudette Colvin; who was 15 years old, unmarried and pregnant, an unfavourable face for the Civil Rights Movement and decided to wait for a more appropriate face.
Rosa Parks has since been hailed as a pioneer for African American rights, despite the fact that she never even participated in the case that resulted in the abolishment of bus segregation in Alabama.
Rosa was tied up in her own case at a state level, whilst Claudette Colvin and four other women fought their case in the Supreme Court. It was Claudette Colvin’s case that was responsible for changing history – overturning Alabama state law and transforming Martin Luther King, who led the original bus boycott, into a national figure.
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