Title: Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice
Author: Phillip Hoose
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
Concepts: discrimination, social justice, jobs, boycott
Review: Nine months before Rosa Parks famously and courageously took a stand against the stranglehold of the Jim Crow laws, fifteen-year-old Claudette Colvin also refused to give up her seat to a white person on a crowded Montgomery city bus. Claudette's bold move added fuel to the outrage that African Americans felt toward the oppression, ignorance, and hatred associated with the country's segregation laws. However, local leaders of the African American community perceived Claudette's youth, personality, and class to be unsuitable for holding her up as the key figure to initiate a mass boycott of the city's bus system. Rosa Parks assumed this role nine months later, thus precipitating more than a year of organized protest to end segregated busing in Montgomery.
During this process, Claudette engaged in a second courageous action that played a major role in the civil rights movement: she served as one of four plaintiffs in the federal lawsuit Browder v. Gayle that abolished segregated bus seating in Alabama. In Claudette Colvin, Phillip Hoose shines the spotlight on Claudette's motivation and anguish around two actions that hitherto remained fairly obscure in the historical record. Along the way, readers are given a jarring reminder of the heavy oppression, fear, and humiliation that African Americans experienced on a daily basis as a result of the country's institutionalized discrimination. This book provides a vivid demonstration of the power of organized resistance and the importance of social justice for all people.
Review by: Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children