Neither Rosa Parks Nor Claudette Colvin Were The First to Challenge Segregation on Public Transportation

12 Aug
Neither Claudette Colvin nor Rosa Parks were the first African American women to refuse to give up their seat in the United States of America’s segregated public transportation system.  
We belittle our own people and the history of their courageous fight against their mistreatment; when we believe foolish things like that.   
To say that after 80 years of segregated public transportation in America, (trains, trolleys, buses,) that it was only in the 1950s that an African American woman refused to be discriminated against while riding.   
This shows that many of our people don’t know a thing about our history.   
Many nameless African American men and women had refused to be discriminated against on public transportation many, many years before the 1950s. 
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Many of them were beaten, jailed and sometimes killed for refusing to move from their seat. 

They rightfully argued that they had paid the same price for a ticket and they should sit wherever a seat was available.  
Because of the way many people of African descent were discriminated against on public transportations, many refused to ride them.   
African Americans like Dr Benjamin E. Mays the mentor of Dr. Martin Luther King, stated in his autobiography that he would not allowed himself to be treated disrespectfully on the segregated trolleys or buses; so he walked instead. 
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Above Dr Benjamin Mays with Martin L. King and below with his fellow college graduates
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Even Jackie Robinson (the first African American in Baseball Major Leagues) was involved in an incident with a Caucasian bus driver when he was in the Army on a military installation in the 1940s.
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Also it was a historical fact that the great Baptist Preacher, Dr Vernon Johns, hitchhiked whenever he travelled rather than ride segregated transportation.
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He was the Minister for the Dexter Avenue Baptist church in Montgomery Alabama before Dr Martin L. King took over. 
In fact Dr Johns’ lectures were the catalyst for the beginning of the Civil Right Movement during the late 1940s into the 1950s.
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Dr Vernon Johns travelled all over the United States of America to give lectures at various churches.
 
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(Check out the movie called The Vernon Johns Story starring James Earle Jones)

During the late 1800s Ida B. Wells refused to move from the train compartment she had purchased a seat for. 

The train conductor ordered her to move to a segregated area.  

She was forced to move; but, she later sued for monetary compensation from the train company and won.   

However on appeal she lost and had to repay the money she had received.  
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As I said before neither Rosa Park nor Claudette Colvin were the first African American man or woman; to refuse to give up her seat and move to a segregated part of the bus.  
I don’t know how this erroneous interpretation of what Rosa Parks, did became the focal point of the incident in Montgomery Alabama. 
The media, I believe is responsible for this mis-information. 
They have deceived the public into erroneously believing that she was the first person of African descent who would not move to the back of the bus; when ordered to do so.  
Her refusal sparked what became for the first time in our history in America; African American en masse refused to ride on segregated buses. 
That had never happened before. 
Almost 100% of the African Americans in Montgomery, Alabama, refused to ride the segregated buses. 
Before the incident with Rosa Parks, the NAACP in that city had been looking for an ideal incident on the buses, to legally challenge segregated busing. 
There had been incidents in the past on the buses in Montgomery; but, the African Americans involved were not the kind of individuals the NAACP, felt would give them a good opportunity to win in the courts. 
The NAACP wanted a person whose moral character was impeccable.  
They wanted someone that no one could claim had a disreputable personality.  
When the incident happened with Claudette Colvin, the NAACP was ready to go into action. 
They felt that they had a good case because she was a teenager and also she was not involved with any type of criminal activity. 
However, they later learned that she had a boyfriend and that she may also be pregnant.  (This was the 1950s not 2015). 
So they decided to not, go forward using Claudette Colvin. 
Rosa Parks was part of the local NAACP; but, what happened to her that night was unplanned. 
The segregated bus rules were; that African Americans could sit in any available seat on the bus. 
However, if a Caucasian came on the bus and there were no seats in the front then the African Americans would have to get up. 
Rosa was supposed to give it to a man much younger than her. 
She said the thought came to her then; about the hypocrisy of the South, concerning their respect for women. 
Here she is an elderly woman and she had to get up to give her seat to a man much younger than herself.
And the reason was because he was a Caucasian.
When it came to racial matter, southern chivalry didn’t exist.
African American women were never addressed as Mrs.
They were addressed by their first names or called aunty. 
Rosa Parks said at that moment on the bus, she was tired of their hypocrisy and refused to move.
The local NAACP decided to go forth using Rosa Parks to challenge segregated busing. 
Because she was a well known and respected member of the city, she was over 40 years old and she also had an impeccable history in the community. 
But when others in the African American community of Montgomery, heard about what had happened to Rosa Parks; they had other ideas on how to respond. 
One suggested a total boycott of the city buses.  
Her name was Mrs Jo Ann Robinson. 
She printed thousands of flyers asking the community to not ride the buses on a certain day. 
This one day boycott was so successful, that the leaders in the community decided to continue it until the bus company accepted their demands for changes. 
They formed a group called The Montgomery Improvement Association and elected Dr Martin Luther King as the leader.  
The boycott lasted for about a year.  
This was the first time that African Americans in the thousands, had brought about a major change against a racist policy by direct, nonviolent action. 
Despite threats of losing their jobs from some of their Caucasian employers, they refused to ride the segregated buses.  

Other African Americans around the country saw what could be done by our people working together to bring about changes. 
They wanted to challenge racist policies in their part of the country.  
Once our people initiated direct confrontation with other racist policies all around the country; good hearted non African Americans joined in to support our efforts. 
That is why Rosa Parks is remembered and applauded all around the world. 
Her action on that bus brought about a movement that ushered in major changes to the United States of America. 
THAT IS THE GREAT LESSON FROM THE MONTGOMERY BUS BOYCOTT. 
Our people working together, in complete unison to bring about positive changes. 
That is why the manipulators of our country has instructed their media, to focus on a single individual; Rosa Parks. 
Not the year-long lesson of unity; shown by the African American residents of Montgomery, Alabama in 1955. 
We need that kind of real, unity today.  
Not just crowds of people on the streets shouting insults at the police. Or carrying signs saying ‘black lives matter.’ 
We need our leaders to identify the problems within the African American communities. 
And then ask OUR people to follow, whatever strategy they have devised to solve those problems. 
African Americans are the only ones who can bring about positive changes in the African American communities. 
Once we change and improve the situation in our own communities; then others outside of our community will have to treat us with respect. 
Waiting on Caucasians and others to change and treat us with more respect will never happen unless we change first. 
We have to stop our slavish worship and imitation of Caucasians. 
We have to stop depending on them to bring about positive changes in our neighbourhoods. 
We have to stop depending on them to be the source of all our financial support.
We must create employment for our people.                                           

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