President Obama: Award Claudette Colvin the Presidental Medal of Freedom
  • Petitioning Barack H. Obama

This petition will be delivered to:

President, United States of America
Barack H. Obama
President of the United States

President Obama: Award Claudette Colvin the Presidental Medal of Freedom

    1. Antonio Jenkins
    2. Petition by

      Antonio Jenkins

      Birmingham, AL

Before Rosa Parks, there was Claudette Colvin. In March 1955, nine months before Rosa Parks galvanized the Montgomery bus boycott by refusing to give up her seat on a segregated bus, police violently dragged 15 year old Claudette Colvin off a bus by her hair while kicking her for not giving her seat up to a white woman.  

The local NAACP got more than 100 letters asking them to support Colvin. But she became pregnant, and civil rights leaders of the time would not build their movement around an unmarried pregnant teenager, so Claudette Colvin's brave act was eventually forgotten while Ms. Parks' brave act became an important part of history.  

Even though it's less well known, Claudette's act had an important effect -- her court case was eventually appealed to a federal court and led to those laws being declared unconstitutional, ending bus segregation across the state!  

I know this story so well because I'm Claudette Colvin's nephew. I didn't get to grow up with Aunt Claudette nearby -- she faced so much discrimination in Alabama after her arrest she had to move away to New York. But I heard her story over and over again, and I was proud of what she accomplished and how much she risked at such a young age. Her contribution to creating a more fair America for everyone shouldn't be forgotten -- it should be celebrated, just like Rosa Parks is!  

That's why I want President Obama to give her a Presidential Medal of Freedom. Giving her this award wouldn't just be a recognition of her own personal accomplishment. It is in a way a recognition of the many unsung heroes of the civil rights movement: the boarding houses that surreptitiously put up and fed high profile leaders, the folks who organized community meetings, who volunteered their cars and their time and risked arrest and beatings in driving during the bus boycotts.   

Ms. Rosa Parks deserves every ounce of the respect and admiration heaped upon her. Aunt Claudette's legacy deserves similar recognition.

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    1. Reached 30,000 signatures

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    Reasons for signing

    • Mona Shah CHICAGO, IL
      • 3 months ago

      Every single history teacher I've ever had has lied to me regarding who the real civil rights pioneer was. This makes me angry and want Ms. Colvin to earn the respect of a nation who owes her an immeasurable amount of gratitude.

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    • Jeff Weber CRESTWOOD, KY
      • 4 months ago

      Should be recognized as the pioneer of the boycott, and serve to inspire young people today that they can make a difference.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Eliot Schickler BROOKLINE, MA
      • 8 months ago

      Claudette earned the Medal of Freedom!

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    • Kirsten Cappy PORTLAND, ME
      • 9 months ago

      I have red the book CLAUDETTE COLVIN: TWICE TOWARD JUSTICE and was deelpy moved by her story.

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    • Megan Hezeltine BELLEVUE, NE
      • 9 months ago

      My fiance is black, and without these brave men and women standing up to the bigots and ignorant, stubborn, self-involved and indulged people who used to run this country, he and I may not have had the opportunity to be together. So, from me, personally, thank you Claudette Colvin. Thank you so much.

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