Civil rights pioneer Claudette Colvin files petition to clear her name

Published: Oct. 26, 2021 at 10:35 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Groups of supporters cheered for Claudette Colvin as she took the necessary steps in order to clear her record.

More than 60 years ago, Colvin refused to give up her seat to a white passenger on a Montgomery bus. It was March 2, 1955, nine months before Rosa Parks did the same thing, which sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the first major campaign of the American civil rights movement.

But unlike parks, Colvin didn’t let go of that seat without a fight. The police report says police struggled to remove her from the bus as she kicked and scratched an officer.

She was charged with assaulting a police officer. It’s a charge that has remained with her ever since.

“I was not going to move that day, I told them that history had me glued to the seat,” Colvin said.

Now she has filed a petition to expunge that record and finally clear her name. There is not a timetable of when a decision will be made on the petition.

“What it mans is that I guess you could say that now I’m no longer a juvenile delinquent,” Colvin said.

Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed and other civic leaders support the request, along with civil rights attorney Fred Gray. Colvin was his first client, and years later he says the struggle for equal justice continues.

“We’re going to have to take this momentum that we have here today and do like what we did during the bus boycott and the civil rights movement to go on and finish that record,” Gray said.

State Rep. Mericka Coleman says that she will file a resolution in the Statehouse to have Colvin expunged.

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