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Claudette Colvin

Today–March 3rd–in 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama, Claudette Colvin, a fifteen-year-old African American girl, refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white person (nine months before Rosa Parks did the same thing). Kicked by a police officer and forcibly removed, she was handcuffed, arrested for violating the city segregation laws, and locked in an adult jail cell.  Supporters put up bail and paid the fine. Why did she do it?  In school, she later explained, she had learned about her rights under the U.S. Constitution and about historic women: “I felt like Sojourner Truth was pushing down on one shoulder and Harriet Tubman was pushing down on the other–saying ‘Sit down girl!’ I was glued to my seat.”

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