A civil rights pioneer wants to expunge the '55 arrest record

Months before Rosa Parks was made the mother of modern civil rights by refusing to travel to the back of a segregated Alabama school bus, Claudette Collvin, a Black teenager, did the same.

A civil rights pioneer wants to expunge the '55 arrest record

 She was convicted of assaulting a policeman while she was being held in custody. However, she was placed under probation and never received notice that her term was over.

Colvin, now 82, is asking for a judge's decision. Colvin wants Montgomery's court to erase a record her lawyer claimed had cast a shadow on the life of a prominent civil rights hero.

"I am now an old woman. My great-grandchildren and grandchildren will be able to see my records. Colvin stated in a sworn declaration that it would mean something to other Black children.

Phillip Ensler, Phillip's attorney, stated that the statement would be filed Tuesday along with legal documents to destroy, seal and erase any records related to her case.

Colvin, who was 20 when she left Alabama, spent many years in New York. However, her relatives were always concerned about what would happen when she returned to visit them, as no court official ever stated that she had completed probation.

He said that her family had lived with the fear for years. "Despite all the efforts to tell her story and recognition in recent years, nothing was done to erase her record."

Colvin, who is currently living in Birmingham, will request a juvenile court judge to hear her case. This is because she was delinquently found and placed on probation for life. Ensler stated that.

In the 1950s, Montgomery's city bus system was divided along racial lines like all public life in the Deep South. Blacks could only use one water fountain, while whites could use the other. The front of a bus was reserved for whites; Black riders had to move to the back.

Parks, a 42 year-old seamstress who was an activist with the NAACP gained international fame when she refused to give her bus seat to any white man on December 1, 1955. The Montgomery Bus Boycott, a year-long protest against racism that Parks faced, was started by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was a national hero and is often credited with the birth of civil rights.

Colvin, a high school student of 15 years at the time was fed up and refused even to move before Parks.

On March 2, 1955, a bus driver called police to report that two Black girls were seated next to two white girls. They refused to move to back of bus. A police report stated that one of the Black girls moved after being asked. Colvin, however, refused to move.

According to police reports, Colvin fought with officers as they removed her from the bus. She kicked and scratched an officer. Although she was initially convicted for violating the city's disorderly conduct, segregation, and assaulting an officers, she appealed, and the assault charge was dropped.

Colvin was under 18 when the case was sent to juvenile courts. Records show that a judge found Colvin delinquent, placed her on probation, "as a state ward pending good behaviour," and Colvin never received official word. Her relatives assumed the worst, that Colvin would be arrested by police for any reason.

Ensler stated that it was "murky" to determine whether Colvin is still on probation. However, she has never been arrested or had any legal problems. Colvin was named as a plaintiff in the landmark case that banned racial segregation from Montgomery's buses. Colvin acknowledged that the trauma was still felt, especially for her family who worried that she would be taken advantage of by the police.

"My conviction for standing up to my constitutional rights terrorized my family and loved ones who knew that I was not to be talked about because the people in my town knew me as that girl from on the bus'," she stated.

Montgomery County's chief court clerk did not respond to a call about Colvin's request. Ensler stated that it was unclear when a judge would rule.

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