Bumble X PushBlack: Claudette Colvin
To commemorate Black History Month and celebrate all things #BlackWomenBuilt, Bumble and PushBlack are teaming up to send you stories of powerful black women trailblazers to inspire you to make big moves.
In 1955, 15-year-old Claudette Colvin stood up for her right to sit where she pleased on a segregated bus, but her story was cast aside. She remembers telling the bus driver, “It’s my constitutional right to sit here as much as that lady. I paid my fare.”
The NAACP considered using her case to advance their cause, but Colvin was a poor and pregnant teenager. Unfortunately, the NAACP didn’t think her story would be appealing, so they tapped NAACP secretary Rosa Parks to try the same action.
“[Parks] was an adult. They didn’t think teenagers would be reliable,” according to Colvin. She also says that Parks’ skin color and hair texture made her a better representation for the NAACP: “Her skin texture was the kind that people associate with the middle class. She fit that profile.”
Although both women were crucial to the movement, misguided respectability politics dictated that Colvin’s story was not good enough for white approval. Parks went on to become a civil rights icon, but Colvin’s story did not become well-known until decades later.
It’s only when we study the past can we create a better future. This Black History Month let's uplift both of these women for the sacrifices they made and leadership they demonstrated when calling for equality for all.
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