Civil Rights Pioneer Seeks Expungement Of Arrest Record

8 months ago 125

By Associated Press
October 26, 2021

Claudette Colvin was arrested successful 1955 for refusing to determination to the backmost of a autobus successful segregated Alabama and ne'er notified she'd completed probation.

Months earlier Rosa Parks became the parent of the modern civilian rights question by refusing to determination to the backmost of a segregated Alabama bus, Black teen Claudette Colvin did the same. 

Convicted of assaulting a constabulary serviceman portion being arrested, she was placed connected probation, yet ne'er received announcement that she'd finished the word and was connected harmless crushed legally.

Now 82 and slowed by age, Colvin is asking a justice to extremity the substance erstwhile and for all. She wants a tribunal successful Montgomery to hitch distant a grounds that her lawyer said has formed a shadiness implicit the beingness of a mostly unsung leader of the civilian rights era.

"I americium an aged pistillate now. Having my records expunged volition mean thing to my grandchildren and great-grandchildren. And it volition mean thing for different Black children," Colvin said successful a sworn statement.

Her attorney, Phillip Ensler, said the connection volition beryllium filed Tuesday with ineligible documents to seal, destruct and erase records of her case.

Currently surviving successful Birmingham earlier a determination to enactment with relatives successful Texas, Colvin volition marque her petition to a juvenile tribunal judge, oddly enough, since that's wherever she was judged delinquent and placed connected what, for each applicable purposes, amounted to a beingness of probation, Ensler said.

Parks, a 42-year-old seamstress and activistic with the NAACP, gained worldwide fame aft refusing to springiness up her autobus spot to a achromatic antheral connected Dec. 1, 1955. Her attraction led to the yearlong Montgomery Bus Boycott, which propelled the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. into the nationalist limelight and often is considered the commencement of the modern civilian rights movement.

A 15-year-old precocious schoolhouse pupil astatine the time, Colvin got fed up and refused to determination adjacent earlier Parks.

A autobus operator called constabulary connected March 2, 1955, to kick that 2 Black girls were sitting adjacent 2 achromatic girls and refused to determination to the backmost of the bus. One of the Black girls moved erstwhile asked, a constabulary study said, but Colvin refused.

The constabulary study said Colvin enactment up a conflict arsenic officers removed her from the bus, kicking and scratching an officer. She was initially convicted of violating the city's segregation law, disorderly behaviour and assaulting an officer, but she appealed and lone the battle complaint stuck.

The lawsuit was sent to juvenile tribunal due to the fact that of Colvin's age, and records amusement a justice recovered her delinquent and placed her connected probation "as a ward of the authorities pending bully behavior." 

And that's wherever it ended, Ensler said, with Colvin ne'er getting authoritative connection that she'd completed probation and her relatives assuming the worst — that constabulary would apprehension her for immoderate crushed they could.

Ensler said it's "murky" arsenic to whether Colvin is really inactive connected probation, but she ne'er had immoderate different arrests oregon ineligible scrapes. She adjacent became a named plaintiff successful the landmark suit that outlawed radical segregation connected Montgomery's buses. Still, Colvin said, the trauma endured, peculiarly for relatives who perpetually disquieted that constabulary were retired to get her.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.