Thursday, November 26, 2009

An outspoken woman gets her due

She knew she'd made news, and history. But because she was outspoken, she wasn't considered suitable as a good example. Now, a children's book that won the National Book Award, Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice, is giving Colvin what's long overdue: credit for being the first to test the Jim Crow laws by sitting in the "white section" on a bus.

According to author Phillip Hoose, quoted in this article in today's New York Times, “[civil rights leaders] worried they couldn’t win with her....Words like ‘mouthy,’ ‘emotional’ and ‘feisty’ were used to describe her.” Also in the article, Colvin says today, “Maybe by telling my story — something I was afraid to do for a long time — kids will have a better understanding about what the civil rights movement was about.”  But, told for years that she shouldn't draw attention to herself, she even asked the author whether he thought the publisher could get the book into schools.  The article and book are an inspiring read, and a reminder why women should keep speaking up and speaking out.

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