First-person diaries, sound portraits, and hidden chapters of history from Peabody Award-winning producer Joe Richman and the Radio Diaries team. From teenagers to octogenarians, prisoners to prison guards, bra saleswomen to lighthouse keepers. The extraordinary stories of ordinary life. Radio Diaries is a proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX. Learn more at radiotopia.fm.
You know the story of Rosa Parks. But have you heard of Claudette Colvin?
Claudette grew up in the segregated city of Montgomery, Alabama. On March 2, 1955, when she was 15 years old, she refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white passenger.
Nine months later, Rosa Parks did the exact same thing. Parks, of course, became a powerful symbol of the civil rights movement. But Claudette Colvin has largely been left out of the history books.
In 1956, about a year after Colvin refused to give up her seat, her attorney Fred Gray filed the landmark federal lawsuit Browder v. Gayle. This case ended segregation on public transportation in Alabama. Claudette Colvin was a star witness.
This is her story.