IT’S Claudette Colvin DAY!
One year ago, in pre-pandemic times, ETHICAL held its first annual Claudette Colvin Festival as the inaugural event for an Intergenerational 1:3o series, called FIRST SUNDAYS. We called this special event the “HI-STORY” project, to invite people to dig into history for hidden stories! Why?
Because the story of Claudette Colvin is one such story!
Here is her story as a song — a “wheels on the bus” song! It’s actually the new version of a familiar story — the one we all know as the Montgomery Bus Boycott story, usually associated with Rosa Parks. But all stories have stories beneath them… so dig! Digging into this story, is exactly what author Phillip Hoose did in seeking a story that reveals how kids make a difference!!!! He dug into history and found some clues that pointed toward a teenage Claudette Colvin whose actions, early in 1955, BOTH planted seeds and brought in the harvest for this famous event… Mr. Hoose reached out to Ms. Colvin — and together, in 2009, they published a story that literally CHANGES HISTORY!
Even in 1955, what YEE aptly calls FAIRNESS FEBRUARY was deemed a time to study “Black History”.MARCH! But just as this month of MARCH that follows, suggests in its own name, after you learn about the inequities and injustices of American racial history, it’s time to stand up for what you’ve learned! … and that’s just what 15 year old Claudette Colvin did on March 2, 1955!!!!!
Her cross-racial collaboration with Phillip Hoose is a gift to the world: a book called TWICE TOWARD JUSTICE. Since this publication, many children’s books have followed suit to honor her legacy. This year, in the 2nd Annual Claudette Colvin Festival (March 7th at 1:30), YEE celebrates cross-racial collaborations and friendships as PEACE WORK.
With the teachings of Dr. Bentley Gibson, The Bias Adjuster, YEE has engaged in dialogue about bias awareness. Through participating in research about Black inventors, and later Black musicians, YEE exemplified how positive role models can offer positive “bias-adjustment” in a world where Black excellence is too often kept in the shadows, or actually eclipsed by the overwhelming context of struggle.
YEE would love to hear from YOU, dear readers far and wide, about such books you have enjoyed. After searching and discussing this topic with many over many years, it actually seems that such stories are way too rare. While many new publications portray the stories of people of color as empowering visions, still too few visions of cross-racial friendship are on the shelves. One favorite is: TWO FRIENDS, about the historic friendship between Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony, so beautifully illustrated by New York artist, Sean Qualls. A few books by New York’s Jacqueline Woodson also lay important ground on this path.