Claudette Colvin’s juvenile record cleared 66 years after refusing to give up seat on segregated Alabama bus

Alabama News

Claudette Colvin looks on at her press conference after she filed paperwork to have her juvenile record expunged, Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021, in Montgomery, Ala. She was arrested for not giving up her seat on a bus in 1955. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Years after refusing to move to the back of a bus in Montgomery due to segregation laws at the time, Claudette Colvin’s name has been cleared.

Colvin, who was a 15-year-old girl living in Montgomery when she refused to give up her seat on a city bus and was arrested in 1955, recently had her juvenile record expunged.

Gar Blume, a Northport attorney who was part of the team working to get Colvin’s record cleared, confirmed to CBS 42 that Montgomery County Juvenile Judge Calvin Williams issued the order to expunge her record the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.

“I think for her, it brings completion or closure,” Blume said. “It’s the final exclamation point after all these years. After all these many years, this is vindication that she was right.”

On March 2, 1955, Colvin was in the Black section of a Montgomery city bus when she was asked by the driver to make room for a white passenger. When she refused, she was arrested and later convicted of disturbing the peace, violating segregation laws and assaulting a police officer.

Colvin’s act was overshadowed with Rosa Parks gaining national attention for refusing to give up her seat on another Montgomery bus nine months later.

On Oct. 26, Colvin went back to Montgomery to file a petition to have her juvenile record expunged.

“I am an old woman now. Having my records expunged will mean something to my grandchildren and great-grandchildren. And it will mean something for other Black children,” Colvin said in a sworn statement.

Blume said that after filing the petition, the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office filed a motion supporting Colvin, something that is not very common in juvenile court cases.

“I think it was something we all expected and told her to expect, but having lived through what she lived through for all these years and having this gnawing in the back of her mind that she was a convict for doing nothing wrong, it was something else for her to be thankful for on Thanksgiving,” Blume said.

Colvin, 82, now lives in Texas.

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