Of a Civil Injustice

Ms. Claudette Colvin,


As a targeted, yet resilient, black teenager,

They didn’t take you seriously:

Your actions were done impulsively

Not a proper symbol of a savior


Your act on the bus was vehement 

Yet the police officers were not in agreement

You were entitled to your spot

So, you justly fought


You deserved more 

Than what your community had in store


You suffered socially

When you were only trying to act righteously

You were forced out of college

Because you were the first to acknowledge


A civil injustice


You suffered economically

When you were only trying to act thoughtfully  

You were unable to maintain a payroll

Because you were the first to take control


Of a civil injustice


I have one question

Forgive me if I have the wrong impression


Your answer will guide me

As I try to be                                                                                                                                    

An effective leader in a social movement

For my community’s improvement


Your suffering has not gone unnoticed

I respect your actions and focus

I only wish to understand,

Was it worth taking a stand?






This poem is about the discrimination that Claudette Colvin faced, an African American teenager who refused to give up her seat on the bus to a white American. Just months later, Rosa Parks committed the same act of civil disobedience, and she became a symbol of the civil rights movement. Colvin, however, suffered a lifetime of disrespect and shame. Ms. Claudette Colvin was a courageous young female who inspires me to be a leader by consistently living a life that parallels my morals. Doing so despite who is watching or the impending consequences defines the epitome of leadership.


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