A Little Voice Came Leaping

Just after I turned four years old my mother gave me my first journal. The first few entries I made were actually dictations written out by my mother, but eventually, I was able to write out my own words in my own hand. As evidenced by the journal, my days as a four year old were filled with making observations and communicating concerns about the life I maintained. One of the most hilarious is revealed in the one-lined entry, "I wish I could read". Since then I have continued to track my observations and concerns in journals of different colors, bindings, and sizes. Now, with the new year, and thus change and positive development in mind, I have decided to start a new journal right here, on this page. I'm pledging at least a poem (or some other kind of entry) a week to aid in making my little voice, and any others out there that have a desire to be heard, to come leaping out of the boxes we often mistakenly keep them in.

Claudette Colvin
"Rosa was aware…that in the last twelve months alone three African-American females had been arrested for the same offense. One incident made the newspapers in March; it even happened on the same bus line. Of four black passengers asked to surrender their seats in no-man’s land, two refused—an elderly woman and fifteen-year-old Claudette Colvin. ‘I done paid my dime,’ Colvin had said. ‘I ain’t got no reason to move.’ The elderly woman got off the bus before police arrived. Colvin refused to move, so police dragged her, fighting and crying, to the squad car, where she was rudely handcuffed…"
"Colvin was charged with violating the city segregation law, disorderly conduct, and assault. With the NAACP defending her, she was convicted but fined only for assault, the most absurd of the three trumped-up charges. It was a shrewd ruling; it sent a tough message to blacks while avoiding an NAACP appeal of a clearly unconstitutional law. Afterward, E.D. Nixon, former Pullman porter and [now] president of the local NAACP chapter, met with the indignant young Colvin to determine if she might make a strong plaintiff in a test case. But she had recently become pregnant, which spelled trouble; Nixon knew that Montgomery’s church-going blacks would not rally behind an immature, unwed, teenaged mother who was also prone to using profanity." —From Black Profiles in Courage by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Alan Steinberg, pp.233-234.

Claudette Colvin

"Rosa was aware…that in the last twelve months alone three African-American females had been arrested for the same offense. One incident made the newspapers in March; it even happened on the same bus line. Of four black passengers asked to surrender their seats in no-man’s land, two refused—an elderly woman and fifteen-year-old Claudette Colvin. ‘I done paid my dime,’ Colvin had said. ‘I ain’t got no reason to move.’ The elderly woman got off the bus before police arrived. Colvin refused to move, so police dragged her, fighting and crying, to the squad car, where she was rudely handcuffed…"

"Colvin was charged with violating the city segregation law, disorderly conduct, and assault. With the NAACP defending her, she was convicted but fined only for assault, the most absurd of the three trumped-up charges. It was a shrewd ruling; it sent a tough message to blacks while avoiding an NAACP appeal of a clearly unconstitutional law. Afterward, E.D. Nixon, former Pullman porter and [now] president of the local NAACP chapter, met with the indignant young Colvin to determine if she might make a strong plaintiff in a test case. But she had recently become pregnant, which spelled trouble; Nixon knew that Montgomery’s church-going blacks would not rally behind an immature, unwed, teenaged mother who was also prone to using profanity." 
—From Black Profiles in Courage by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Alan Steinberg, pp.233-234.

  • 3 February 2013
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