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A VIDEO INTERVIEW WITH CLAUDETTE COLVIN

Updated: Oct 8, 2019

Student Voices highlights the work of American University students.


An interview with Claudette Colvin for the Julian Bond Oral History Project, sponsored by the School of Public Affairs at American University. Conducted by American University student Rachel Windsor in Washington, D.C. on April 15th, 2019.



Ms. Colvin is best known for being the first Montgomery, Alabama resident to challenge the city's bus segregation law, resulting in her arrest in March 1955. Here, Ms. Colvin discusses her personal and family background, what led her to refuse to give up her seat to a white passenger and her resulting arrest, the consequences of her decision to join the lawsuit challenging the bus segregation law, her experience working with Fred Gray, the attorney who represented the plaintiffs in Browder v. Gayle (1956), retaliation from whites and the impact this moment had on her life.


The Student Voices page of the Julian Bond Oral History Project features the work of students at American University. On occasion, this page will feature interviews conducted by American University students with civil rights activists past and present. Other times, we will feature interviews with American University students about their own work in politics and social activism.

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Please direct any inquiries by email to Dr. Gregg Ivers at ivers@american.edu

PROJECT DIRECTOR: Dr. Gregg Ivers, Professor of Government, American University

RESEARCH AND TECHNICAL SUPPORT: Gracie Brett, Lianna Bright, Audra Gale, and Colleen Vivaldi

ADDITIONAL SUPPORT: Cameron Burns, Andrew Eversden, Kevin Alexander Gray, and Lawrence Holman

PRODUCTION ASSISTANCE AND WEBSITE DESIGN: Jessica Merriman