Most people think of Rosa Parks as the first person to refuse to give up their seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama. There were actually several women who came before her; one of whom was Claudette Colvin.
Nine months before Rosa Parks, fifteen-year-old Claudette refused to move to the back of the bus. Claudette had been studying Black leaders like Harriet Tubman in her segregated school. “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,” she said of her bus experience.
At the time, the NAACP and other related organizations felt Rosa Parks, who was older, middle class, and light-skinned, made a better icon than a poorer, dark-skinned teenager. Therefore, Rosa became the face for the movement. She served as one of four women who challenged and overthrew Alabama segregation law in Browder v. Gayle.
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