for Claudette Colvin
by Phillip Hoose
Nine months before Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, another Black Montgomery citizen had done the same. Claudette Colvin was only fifteen at the time she refused to follow Jim Crow practices any longer and was arrested. In the aftermath, Claudette often felt isolated and alone, even vilified by some within her own community. Fourteen months later, Rosa Parks had been arrested and the Black community united in boycotting public transportation, but it was in the courts that a victory was needed, and Claudette courageously became one of five plaintiffs in a class action suit. That suit, Browder v. Gayle, put an end to segregated transportation in Montgomery when a federal court ruled it unconstitutional. Claudette’s passion and her dreams of making a difference will resonate with contemporary readers, as will her sense of hurt and injustice. Phillip Hoose’s narrative, which was drawn in large part from interviews with Colvin and others as well as additional research, paints a fresh, insightful picture of those life-changing times in Montgomery, looking at them through the experiences of a teenager who faced challenges for being both young and Black. (Age 13 and older)
CCBC Choices 2010. © Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2010. Used with permission.
"When it comes to justice, there is no easy way to get it. You can't sugarcoat it. You have to take a stand and say, 'This is not right.'" — Claudette Colvin
On March 2, 1955, an impassioned teenager, fed up with the daily injustices of Jim Crow segregation, refused to give her seat to a white woman on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama. Instead of being celebrated as Rosa Parks would be just nine months later, fifteen-year-old Claudette Colvin found herself shunned by her classmates and dismissed by community leaders. Undaunted, a year later she dared to challenge segregation again as a key plaintiff in Browder v. Gayle, the landmark case that struck down the segregation laws of Montgomery and swept away the legal underpinnings of the Jim Crow South.
Based on extensive interviews with Claudette Colvin and many others, Phillip Hoose presents the first in-depth account of an important yet largely unknown civil rights figure, skillfully weaving her dramatic story into the fabric of the historic Montgomery bus boycott and court case that would change the course of American history.
Claudette Colvin is the 2009 National Book Award Winner for Young People's Literature and a 2010 Newbery Honor Book.
Publisher description retrieved from Google Books.