Before Rosa Parks, there was Claudette Colvin. Born in 1939 in Montgomery, Alabama. On March 2, 1955, she was arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a bus in segregated Montgomery, Alabama, nine months prior to Rosa Parks. She became the first person to be arrested for rebelling against bus segregation in the city after refusing to give up her seat to a white person in 1955. At the time, Colvin was just 15 years old.
Ruby Bridges, an American activist known for being the first black child to desegregate an all white school in Louisiana during the New Orleans school desegregation crisis in 1960. _ After attending kindergarten at an all-Black school Bridges was asked to take a test. This test would determine which Black students would be allowed to attend a White school. In 1960, Bridges’ parents were informed that she was one of only six African-American students to pass the test. Bridges would be the only Black student to attend the William Frantz School, and the first Black child to attend an all-White elementary school in the South.�- On the morning of November 14, 1960, federal marshals drove Bridges and her mother to her new school. When they arrived, large crowds of people were gathered in front yelling and throwing objects. There were barricades set up, and police officers were everywhere. When she entered the school under the protection of the federal marshals, she was escorted to the principal’s office and spent the entire day there. The fact that nearly all the white parents at the school had kept their children home due to Bridges’ presence meant classes weren’t going to be held. _ Only one teacher, Barbara Henry, agreed to teach Bridges. Bridges was the only student in Henry’s class, because parents pulled their children from Bridges’ classroom. For a full year, Mrs. Henry and Bridges sat side-by-side working on Bridges’ lessons. Henry was loving and supportive of Ruby, and helped her with the difficult experience of being ostracized. – Many times Bridges was confronted with blatant racism. On her second day of school, a woman threatened to poison her. _ Due to Bridges’ desegregating the school her father lost his job and her grandparents were sent off the land they had sharecropped for over 25 years. – In 1999, Bridges formed the Ruby Bridges Foundation, headquartered in New Orleans. The foundation promotes the values of tolerance, respect, and appreciation of all differences through education. – Her bravery paved the way for continued Civil Rights action.
Ruby Bridges was 6 when she became the first African-American child to integrate a white Southern elementary school, having to be escorted to class by her mother and U.S. marshals due to violent mobs. Bridges’ bravery paved the way for continued Civil Rights action and she’s shared her story with future generations in educational forums.
The 16th Street Baptist Church bombing was an act of white supremacist terrorism which occurred at the African-American 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama on Sunday, September 15, 1963, when four members of the Ku Klux Klan planted at least 15 sticks of dynamite attached to a timing device eneath the front steps of the church.
Described by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as “one of the most vicious and tragic crimes ever perpetrated against humanity”, the explosion at the church killed four girls and injured 22 others.
Four girls, Addie Mae Collins (age 14), Carol Denise McNair (age 11), Carole Robertson (age 14), and Cynthia Wesley (age 14), were killed in the attack.