As a substitute teacher at a New York City Charter School, I have the privilege of teaching a variety of subjects for 5th-8th graders. This week my coverage involved a 6th Grade History class. Once my scholars were working on their assignment, I took a break and asked the class, “Does anyone know who Rosa Parks is?” All twenty-two students raised their hands with confidence. I then asked the class, “Does anyone know who Claudette Colvin is?” One boy shyly raised his hand and questioned if it had anything to do with Black History. One girl raised her hand and stated, “She was a 15-year old girl who sat in the middle of the bus during the Civil Rights Movement and was arrested before Rosa Parks.”
If so many of our students are aware of Rosa Parks’ involvement in the Civil Rights Movement, why are so few familiar Claudette Colvin?