Little was known about Claudette Colvin’s (pronounced CALLVin) refusal to give up her seat on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama, until now. Nonfiction Author, Phillip Hoose, introduces us to yet another woman pioneer - who for many of us - did not learn about in school. And what I learned just about a month ago (better late than never) was that before there was Rosa, there was Claudette – "the first African American woman to not give up her seat to a white passenger."
Hoose’s latest biography, Claudette Colvin: Twice Towards Justice (Farrar, Straus and Giroux/Melanie Kroupa Books/Feb 2, 2009) is about a 15-year old girl whose fight for justice and determination, helped to end the bus segregation in Montgomery, Alabama. "Based on extensive interviews with Claudette and many others, Mr. Hoose presents the first in-depth account of this important early civil rights contributor."
Chapter by chapter, Hoose threads together one woman’s defeat and ultimate triumphs – using powerful images and never before seen pictures. It’s a brilliant piece of work! Ironically, as I read through the pages, there were times when I felt like I was reading a diary written 100-years ago; especially when describing the school Claudette attended. Hoose writes, "Spring Hill School in Pine Level, where Claudette attended elementary school, was newer than the school in rural Georgia…but like many schools for African-American children, it had one room, one teacher, six grades, and a potbellied stove for heat."
Here’s a video featuring Claudette Colvin who shares her story.