[Rosa] Parks became an icon of resistance. Meanwhile, Colvin became an outcast, branded a troublemaker within her community after her initial arrest and conviction. She was abandoned by civil rights leaders when she became pregnant at 16. Although she has gained recognition in recent years — a book about her life won the National Book Award in 2009 — Colvin is still largely glossed over by history and her immense contribution and sacrifice has never been officially recognized by the U.S. government, as Parks was.
Teen Vogue spoke with Colvin, now 78 years old, at her home in New York and by phone about her experiences.
Read the whole interview: Claudette Colvin Explains Her Role in the Civil Rights Movement | Teen Vogue
“Peace. Peace. Thank you Debra. Thank you, Nate Parker. Thank you, Harry and Debbie Allen, for participating in that.
“Before we get into it, I just want to say I brought my parents out tonight — I just want to thank them for being here and teaching me to focus on comprehension over career. They made sure I learned what the schools were afraid to teach us. And also, thank you to my amazing wife for changing my life.
“Now, this award, this is not for me. This is for the real organizers all over the country. The activists, the civil rights attorneys, the struggling parents, the families, the teachers, the students that are realizing that a system built to divide and impoverish and destroy us cannot stand if we do. All right? It’s kind of basic mathematics. The more we learn about who we are and how we got here, the more we will mobilize.
“Now, this is also in particular for the black women in particular who have spent their lifetimes dedicated to nurturing everyone before themselves. We can and will do better for you.
“Now, what we’ve been doing is looking at the data and we know that police somehow manage to deescalate, disarm and not kill white people every day. So what’s going to happen is we’re going to have equal rights and justice in our own country or we will restructure their function in ours.
“Now, [standing ovation] I got more, y’all.
History books usually say more about the wielder of the pen than the past, so I’ve noticed. Those with a particular interest in cultural manipulation will do anything to make their preferred reality, the reality we all are forced to swallow as truth. Especially when it can be revealed that those who are viewed as weak or insignificant were actually the gods, the lions, the powerful ones. The powers that be will cut off the nose to spite the sphinx, so I’ve noticed.
Read the rest at the link below →