Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice

Claudette Colvin was 15 years old on March 2, 1955 when she refused to give up her seat on the bus and was arrested in Montgomery, Alabama.  Several months before the arrest of Rosa Parks for taking a similar stand, Colvin's arrest was less celebrated but no less compelling. Phillip Hoose, with the help of Claudette Colvin's first-hand account, has written a stirring narrative detailing the difficulties faced by this young lady who stood up for what was right. After 14 months of personal turmoil, Colvin had the courage to be a plaintiff in Browder v. Gayle, which ended segregation on the buses of Montgomery.

I have a group of students who are reading a fine biography of Rosa Parks right now, but it was very helpful for me to have read Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice before they started. Phillip Hoose's book provided me with more information about the time period and the historical figures who were a part of this early event in the Civil Rights Movement.

This would be a good book to share with middle or high school readers. If you share it with elementary students, you will need to be aware of some of the mature topics that are dealt with in the book. Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice is a great read for those students and teachers who are interested in history.  Hoose and Colvin show you that there is a price to be paid for those who take a stand, but also that individuals, regardless of age, can make a difference.  How and why Claudette Colvin took a stand is a message educators should share with their students.

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