A Tribute to the Life and Legacy of Claudette Colvin
By Robert Press.
Sixty-five years ago on an Alabama bus fifteen year old Claudette Colvin (a black teenager in the 1950's) refused to give her seat to a white woman. The bus driver called the police, and Ms. Colvin was taken off the bus and arrested. This did not make headlines because the Civil Rights Movement was just getting started. It would be Rosa Parks the head of the local Alabama NAACP chapter nine months later who would be credited with refusing to give up her seat on an Alabama bus.
Local Bronx elected officials spoke, with City Councilman Ruben Diaz Sr. and Parkchester District Leader John Perez presenting a ceremonial NYC street sign "Claudette Colvin Plaza" to Ms. Colvin. Councilman Diaz Sr. proposed a street co-naming for Ms. Colvin this year, but City Council Speaker Cory Johnson said that a street can not be named after a living person. While that is false as former New York Yankee pitcher Mariano Rivera had a street by Yankee Stadium co-named for him after retiring from the Yankees, and former Mayor Ed Koch was at the re-naming of the 59th Street Bridge the Ed Koch Bridge. The street co-naming will take place next year.
There was a congratulatory video from former first lady Hillary Clinton, and daughter Chelsea, as well as several others. A portrait of Ms. Claudette Colvin was unveiled by former Parkchester NAACP President Beverly Roberts, and there was a toast honoring Ms. Colvin. The invite only event took place at Maestros Caterers on Bronxdale Avenue.
The newspaper clipping from 1954.
An artist rendering of Ms. Claudette Colvin over the years.
(L-R) Parkchester District Leader John Perez, Peace December Exceutive Director Edna Thomas-Granger, City Councilman Ruben Diaz Sr., and City Councilman Andy King.