Civil Rights Icon Claudette Colvin Petitions To Expunge Arrest Record


Claudette Colvin

Photo: Getty Images

Months before Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on an Alabama bus, a teenager by the name of Claudette Colvin did the same. Refusing to give her seat on a Birmingham bus, the 15-year-old rider was unjustly arrested and charged with assaulting an officer.

"So I was not going to move that day," Colvin told the Associated Press.

"I told them that history had me glued to the seat."

Five years later, Colvin left Alabama and headed to New York to start a new life. However, she was never officially taken off probation, which led many of her family members to worry that she'd be taken back in to the legal system.

"Her family has lived with this tremendous fear ever since then," Colvin's attorney Phillip Ensler told the Associated Press.

"For all the recognition of recent years and the attempts to tell her story, there wasn't anything done to clear her record."

More than 50 years after the ordeal turned Colvin's life upside down, she is working to expunge her record.

“I am an old woman now. Having my records expunged will mean something to my grandchildren and great grandchildren. And it will mean something for other Black children,” Colvin said in a sworn statement obtained by the Associated Press.

Colvin Colvin has returned to her hometown of Birmingham and begun the process of getting her records cleared within the juvenile court. Montgomery County's chief prosecutor has indicated that Colvin's request will be approved, eliminating all doubt of an administrative hold up.

"I guess you can say that now I am no longer a juvenile delinquent," Colvin exclaimed, according to Associated Press.

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