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Lesser-known US Civil Rights Hero Highlighted In France By Sandra BIFFOT-LACUT

The Agence France-Presse wrote the following article about Roseboro Holdings' client Claudette Colvin. Agence France-Presse is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency. AFP has regional headquarters in Nicosia, Montevideo, Hong Kong and Washington, D.C., and news bureaus in 151 countries in 201 locations.

She refused to give up her bus seat to a white woman and helped make history in the deeply segregated southern United States, but this is not the celebrated story of Rosa Parks.

A new art installation and book in France recalls the lesser-known moment in March 2, 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama when then 15-year-old Claudette Colvin refused to budge.

"I remained seated because the lady could have sat in the seat opposite me," Colvin, now 83, told reporters this week. "She refused because... a white person wasn't supposed to sit close to a negro."

Colvin was briefly imprisoned for disturbing public order, but the following year became part of a lawsuit that led the Supreme Court to ban segregation on public transport.

Her story is far less known than that of Parks, who spurred the landmark bus boycott in Montgomery when she did the same thing in December 1955, partly because Colvin was ostracised for becoming pregnant out of wedlock and moved away to New York.

It was French journalist Tania de Montaigne who has brought new attention to her story in a book, which has also inspired a graphic novel and stage play in France.

It is also retold in an augmented reality installation at the Pompidou Centre in Paris -- in which visitors don headsets that place them in the atmosphere of 1950s Montgomery, Colvin's moment on the bus and her trial.

It will later travel to New York, Montreal, Taiwan and Shanghai.

"People ask me why I refused to move, and I say history had me glued to the seat," Colvin said.

"Harriet Tubman's hands were pushing me down on one shoulder and Sojourner Truth on the other," she added, referring to two key figures of black resistance.

Colvin has no hard feelings that Parks became the more celebrated figure.

Parks, who was 42 and already a key figure in the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, "knew what she was doing and she could represent the people," said Colvin.

It took until her 80s for Colvin to have her criminal record expunged.

"She maintained her values against all odds. She is an example to all of us," de Montaigne told AFP.  (Read article)


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