(CNN) — Juvenile criminal record for Claudette Colvin, a civil rights pioneer who in 1955 refused to give up her seat to a white person on an Alabama bus, were sealed, destroyed and removed after a judge ruling.
Colvin, now 82, was arrested when she was 15 for refusing to give up her seat to a white person on a bus in Montgomery. The incident occurred nine months before Rosa Parks’ famous arrest for a similar act of civil disobedience in the Jim Crow era.
An Alabama family court judge in November granted Colvin’s request to expunge his record. Montgomery County Juvenile Judge Calvin Williams signed the order to destroy the records on Nov. 24, including all references to the arrest.
The judge accepted the motion to seal the record for “what has since been recognized as a courageous act on his behalf and on behalf of a community of affected people,” Williams said.
Colvin was charged with two counts of violating Montgomery’s segregation ordinance and one felony count of assaulting a police officer. She was found guilty of all charges in juvenile court and the segregation convictions were overturned on appeal.
She was placed on “indefinite probation” after her conviction on the assault charge, and Colvin was never informed that her probation had ended, her legal team said.
“I want us to move forward and be better”
While Parks ‘arrest came months after Colvins’, Parks received more attention during the civil rights movement in part because his image was more “acceptable to a white community,” Colvin told CNN earlier this year. Parks was older, married, and lighter-skinned, Colvin said.
Still, Colvin joined the plaintiffs in Browder v. Gayle, a 1956 case that reached the Supreme Court, which ordered officials in Montgomery, and throughout Alabama, to end segregation on buses.
“People were saying she was crazy,” Colvin previously told CNN about the event that led to her arrest. “Because I was 15 years old and I was defiant and yelling, ‘It’s my constitutional right!’
Colvin sought to have the record expunged because he wanted to move to Texas with his family, his legal team and relatives previously told CNN.
His motion was supported by Montgomery County District Attorney Daryl Bailey, who in October called Colvin’s actions in 1955 “thorough, not criminal; inspired, not illegal; (which) should have led to praise and not to prosecution “.
In his motion, Colvin said he wanted the society to progress, not go backwards.
“I want us to move forward and be better,” he said at the presentation. “When I think about why I’m looking for the state to clear my name, it’s because I think that if that happened, it would show the generation that is growing up now that progress is possible and that things are getting better. It will inspire them to improve the world.”
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism