Thomas Gadson, Mother Mary Gadson, Delphine, Jo Ann, Mary Ellen
and Claudette ENLARGE
Colvin was born September 5, 1939 in Birmingham, Alabama. Her biological
parents are C.P. Austin and Mary Jane Austin (Gadson). she is the
oldest of eight sisters.
her early childhood her adopted parents lived in the rural community
of Pine Level, Alabama. Claudette attended the Springhill Baptist
Elementary School then located on Ramer Route 1. Later she moved
to Montgomery and lived in an area called King Hill.
her son and her grandchildren. ENLARGE
attended Booker T. Washington High School from 1949 to 1956. She
did not finish high school. But later she obtained her G.E.D. and
attended Alabama State Teachers College in Montgomery
for one year.
with a family friend, Brenda Forte. .ENLARGE
At the age of 15, what would be later known as her greatest achievement
in life, was her significant role in desegregating the buses in
Montgomery, Alabama. Claudette is one of the Unsung Heroines of
the Civil Rights Movement. Nine months before Rosa
Parks was arrested, Claudette was arrested on March 2, 1955
a similar act of resistance. While Claudette was not the first person
to be arrested, she was the first to plead not guilty to segregaion
charges and demand a trial. She was one of the four plaintiffs who
filed the class action lawsuit Browder vs. Gayle, against segregated
seating. Attorney Fred Gray, said it was her case in March that
started the preparation for the
lawsuit that was filed February 1, 1956 and comments that if there
had been no Claudette Colvin, there would have been no Rosa Parks,
there would have been no Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
asked at the federal trial if the group stop riding the buses because
of some things Dr. King said, her reply was: "No Sir. It was
in the beginning when they arrested me, when they seen how dirty
they treated Negro girls here, that they had began to feel like
that all the time, though some of us just didn't have the guts to
Ann Gibson Robinson says of Claudette in her book, "The Montgomery
Bus Boycott and The Women Who Started as a pretty, bright and spiritual
and teen". Claudette was active in the NAACP Youth Council.
has worked for the past 30 years at a Catholic Nursing Home as a
Nursing Assistant. she is the mother of two boys, the oldest died
in her home in 1993, the youngest is a Certified Public Accountant
in Atlanta. She had five adorable grandchildren and she can say
that she has reaped the fruits of her labor through them. She resides
in Bronx, New York and enjoys reading and cooking.