Rosa Parks is the famous name associated with the Montgomery bus boycott and the breaking of segregation, but she wasn't the only hero. Phillip Hoose's Claudette Colvin: Twice Towards Justice tells the story of Colvin's court cases, her life, and the blow to segregation in his oversized book for child audiances. I approached figuring I probably knew all the facts and would appreciate the presentation and found that there was quite a lot I didn't know.
I had known that Rosa Parks wasn't the first to refuse to stand up; I hadn't realized that Colvin not only was the first to fight her arrest through the courts, but also went back and was one of the four names in the constitutional challenge that legally broke the back of segregation. The bus company didn't fold in the face of the boycott -- the courts ordered them to cease segregation due to a court case that Colvin testified in to great effect. However, as an underaged single mother whose child was suspiciously "light," nobody really wanted to use her as the front of any publicity.
The epilogue was deeply moving -- pictures of Colvin speaking in front of students at Booker T Washington high school, the school which had expelled her the year after her first court case because she was pregnant. It's a reminder that not only did she fight segregation twice in the courts, she also had to fight prejudice twice -- once as an African American, and once as a woman.
I'm posting this on a Monday so I can take part in Non-fiction Monday, hosted by The Children's War.